Boston Police Commissioner William Evans: No Foul Play in 7-Year-Old's Drowning Death | NECN
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Boston Police Commissioner William Evans: No Foul Play in 7-Year-Old's Drowning Death

Kyzr Willis wandered away from a camp and later was found dead in the water

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    Police say the drowning death of 7-year-old Kyzr Willis is not suspicious, but Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has made changes for all city "drop-in" day camp programs. (Published Friday, July 29, 2016)

    Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday that preliminary findings are that there was "no foul play" in the drowning death of 7-year-old Kyzr Willis earlier this week.

    "Clearly, it was an accidental drowning," Evans said at a media availability at Boston Police headquarters. "It breaks our heart. I think the whole city is grieving that we lost such a young child."

    Boston launched a review of protocols at all of its summer camps after Kyzr wandered away unnoticed from a camp at a South Boston beach on Tuesday and was later found dead in the water.

    Evans said the young boy was taking swimming lessons with a counselor earlier on the day that he disappeared.

    "He wasn't a good swimmer," he said. "He was only 7 years old."

    Boy, 7, Found Dead in Water Off Carson BeachBoy, 7, Found Dead in Water Off Carson BeachAn 7-year-old Dorchester, Massachusetts boy was found dead on Tuesday evening hours after he went missing from Carson Beach. (Published Wednesday, July 27, 2016)

    City officials and police have been trying to piece together what happened in the approximately 30 minutes between the time Kyzr was last seen and when he was reported missing from the Curley Community Center.

    • Around 2:15 p.m., the center director gave the order for lifeguards and counselors to get the campers out of the water.
    • At 2:30, the beach was cleared. Willis had already been spotted walking up to the bathhouse. Shortly after, the boy's brother saw his clothes in the bathhouse, but he wasn't there. He alerted the counselors.
    • At 2:38, police say Willis' cousin called his mom to say he's missing.
    • Around 2:40, lifeguards began their water search, and the beaches were shut down.
    • At 2:49, the director called 911.
    • At 2:53, police and other crews arrive.
    • At 6 p.m., a sonar image showed Willis under the water. Shortly after, he was pulled up by dive teams.
    • The boy was pronounced deceased at 7:09.
    Willis was last spotted by a lifeguard around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday getting out of the water at Carson Beach behind the community center. The boy's body was located around 7 p.m. Tuesday about 15 yards from the shore behind the bathhouse.

    Evans detailed the exact timeline on Friday, saying that the boy was seen getting out of the water at 2:15 p.m., but his older brother then noticed Kyzr missing from the bathhouse around 2:30 p.m.

    Police were called at 2:49 p.m. and searched from 2:55 p.m. until 6 p.m., when a Quincy harbor patrol boat picked up an image about 20 yards off shore. The boy's body was then recovered by divers and he was pronounced deceased at 7:09 p.m.

    "We don't know how he got back in the water," Evans said. "That's the mystery here."

    The director of the community center has been placed on paid administrative leave while the city and police investigate, and the city conducted a review of all protocols at its Boston Centers for Youth & Families drop-in programs.

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday that all BCYF drop-in programs will follow rigorous new standards in an effort to strengthen oversight and child safety as a result of Kyzr's death.

    "The city experienced a terrible tragedy with the lose of Kyzr Willis and we immediately launched a review of all our protocols at our BCYF centers," he said.

    Summer staff will undergo a full-day comprehensive training on the new procedures prior to returning to the Curley Community Center on Tuesday, Walsh said.

    Other changes include a new headcount procedure, better front desk staffing, a set child-staff ratio, new ocean safety procedures and additional security cameras.

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced new standards at Boston Centers for Youth & Families drop-in programs on Friday.
    Photo credit: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh


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