Boy’s death during camp at South Boston beach ruled accidental

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Police Commissioner William Evans announced Friday the death of a boy at a South Boston summer camp was ruled accidental.

Kyzr Willis, 7, went missing from camp at Curley Community Center Tuesday afternoon. Evans said the director of the camp called 911 shortly after Kyzr’s older brother noticed his clothes were in the bathhouse but he was nowhere to be found. Kyzr’s brother reported this to a camp counselor.

Police, lifeguards and the Coast Guard searched for the Dorchester boy on land and in the water for approximately four hours. Evans said Kyzr’s body was found in the water at around 7 p.m. when he was located by sonar.

According to police, an autopsy confirmed Kyzr’s cause of death was accidental drowning and no foul play was suspected. The director of the camp has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted.

Kyzr’s family held a vigil in his memory at Carson Beach Wednesday night, spelling his name out on the sand in candles.

“We loved him. It’s so bad to lose him like that, it’s really bad to lose him,” said Kyzr’s grandfather, Ralph Jackson. “We need answers, we really do. This family needs answers.”

The Curley Community Center reopened to adults on Thursday and will open on Monday for children.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of Willis:

On Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced all BCYF drop-in programs will follow rigorous new standards to strengthen oversight and child safety.

“The city experienced a terrible tragedy with the loss of Kyzr Willis and we immediately launched a review of all our protocols at our BCYF centers,” said Walsh. “Thousands of families entrust their children to our summer camps and we take that trust extremely seriously. It is our priority to act quickly on any potential improvements to our programs, and I will continue to work closely with BCYF leadership to ensure we have proper oversight and safety procedures at all of our programs.”

The Summer Youth Activities Program (SYAP) staff will undergo a full day comprehensive training on the new procedures prior to SYAP returning to the Curley Center on Tuesday.

Immediate changes being made to the Curley Community Center include a new headcount procedure, front desk staffing, and improved child to staff ratio, new ocean safety procedures, and security cameras.



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