Boston to review summer camp protocol after boy’s death
Boston — The city has launched a review of protocols at all of its summer camps after a 7-year-old boy wandered away unnoticed from a camp at a beach and later was found dead in the water.
City officials and police are trying to piece together what happened in the approximately 30 minutes between the time Kyzr Willis was last seen Tuesday afternoon and when he was reported missing from the Curley Community Center, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday.
The community center in the city’s South Boston neighborhood is where the day camp is held and includes a beach bathhouse where the boy was seen. The camp is run by the Boston Centers for Youth and Families.
Willis was last spotted by a lifeguard around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday getting out of the water at Carson Beach, located behind the community center, The Boston Globe reported. City officials say there are eight lifeguard stations at the beach.
The boy’s body was located around 7 p.m. Tuesday about 15 yards from the shore behind the bathhouse, police Commissioner William Evans said. Police were awaiting autopsy results to determine how long the boy was in the water, Evans said.
The boy’s mother, Melissa Willis, told the Globe that nobody at the camp notified her he was missing and that she found out through her 9-year-old niece. She said her son was athletic and daring but knew to follow directions from staff and wouldn’t have wandered off.
Investigators are trying to determine when the community center realized the boy was missing, Walsh said.
The director of the community center has been placed on paid administrative leave while the city and police investigate, and the city has launched a review of all protocols at its 36 centers, which operate hundreds of summer programs, Walsh said.
Walsh described the program at Curley as a free, drop-in day camp offered as an affordable option for parents.
“This is a last resort for some of the families,” Walsh said. “This is a safe haven for the kids.”
Quincy police, state police and the U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the search for the boy. Boston police deployed officers in the area around his home, in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood, Evans said.
“We worked hard to find that child,” Evans said.