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Law school dean hired by St. Paul to lead investigation into fatal landslide

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The dean of the Hamline University School of Law has been hired by the city of St. Paul to lead an independent investigation into the landslide that killed two fourth-grade boys at Lilydale Regional Park last month, the Pioneer Press reports.

The city says Donald M. Lewis, who is also the co-founder of Minneapolis law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis, is conducting the review.

The city previously hired Northern Technologies Inc. -- a geo-technical engineering firm with expertise in collapses -- to determine the cause of the tragedy.

The boys -- Haysem Sani, 9, and Zack Mohamed Fofana, 10 -- died during a fossil-gathering field trip from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park when the landslide sent them into a pit, trapping them under 4-5 feet of of soil and rock that fell on top them.

Two other boys were injured in the mishap.

The city said Lewis will begin his investigation Monday,with findings expected within several weeks.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said a statement that the city "is committed to getting to the bottom of what happened on that tragic day," and he has "full faith" that Lewis "will conduct this independent investigation in a robust and thorough manner."

Coleman has closed down the area of the park were the landslide happened indefinitely until a cause of the landslide can be determined.

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