Wildwood beating victim says police failed him

August 15, 2013 4:20:16 AM PDT
The family of Robert Gavin is expressing its fury at the Wildwood Police Department.

The 21-year-old suffered serious injuries when he and his cousin were attacked on Memorial Day, but the family says the police have let the case get cold much too quickly and easily.

Gavin is now trying to get his life back on track after the violent attack on the boardwalk in Wildwood.

"I wake up every morning, and to everyone else it may look like I'm the same, but I know I'm not the same person," he said.

The South Jersey native, who's living in Woodbury now, was hanging out with his cousin and visiting family in Wildwood Crest on Memorial Day weekend.

Around 1:00 a.m. on May 29th they were almost home at the end of the boardwalk when about five men walked up.

For Gavin, what happened next is hazy. But his 19-year-old cousin, Wildwood resident John Herring, can fill in the blanks. They were jumped.

"Then they hit me in the face and it happened. And they started swinging at men . . . and it just got hectic," said Herring.

The men took off. The cousins made it home and eventually to the hospital. Gavin had a concussion and a number of facial fractures that required surgery.

With Gavin on the mend, the focus turned to the investigation. But his family says Wildwood Police fell down on the job. Calls have gone unanswered. Gavin's cousin offered to look at mug shots and surveillance video.

"Start an investigation at the time that it's reported," said Gavin's aunt, Nicole Marino. "Don't sit on it, because by the time you start on it, apparently there's no evidence."

We couldn't reach anyone at the police department after hours. Mayor Ernie Troiano defended his police department over the phone, but couldn't give us any details about the investigation.

Gavin, who has headaches, cognitive issues and speech problems, couldn't finish his final classes at Pennco Tech.

He and his family just want to work with police to find his attackers.

"From what I wanted to where I'm at, I feel like I could have been so much further ahead," he said.

Gavin was able to get a part time job. He's racked up about $100,000 in medical bills.

He says after that traumatizing incident, he's afraid to return to Wildwood.


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