Episode 76 – Originally Released April 2019
Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including the brutal beating and subsequent death of a child. Listener discretion is advised.
On Friday night, November 11, 1994, 16 year old Eddie Polec and his younger brother Billy planned on spending a typical evening with their friends in the Fox Chase neighborhood in Philadelphia; hanging out at a local park, hopping between the nearby McDonald’s and Pizza hut, and getting home in time for their 11:30 curfew.
Eddie never made it home that night. Earlier that month a young woman from the nearby community of Abington, Pennsylvania, had a run in with a few Fox Chase teens, and what began as a soda tossed into her car somehow grew into a horrible rumor she’d been assaulted. At least two dozen teenagers from Abington drove into Fox Chase on November 11 seeking revenge for an event that never happened. By the end of the night, Eddie Polec paid for their misplaced vengeance with his life.
This is the story of Eddie’s life and his death, it’s the story of his remarkable family, his parents John and Kathy, his siblings, the strength and grace they demonstrated in the face of the most horrific tragedy anyone could experience. It’s the story of John Polec’s fight against the city of Philadelphia to fix what at the time was an ineffective 911 system that failed his son, the eventual changes implemented by the city that benefit Philadelphia residents even to this day.
Research sources for this episode include:
- Philadelphia Inquirer Archives and Daily News Archives
- In Eddie’s Name: One Family’s Triumph Over Tragedy by Bryn Freedman and William Knoedelseder – https://www.amazon.com/Eddies-Name-Familys-Triumph-Tragedy/dp/0571199240
- Associated Press.org
- Pennsylvania Superior Court Records
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post