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Home Death investigation A 12-year-old boy might have suffocated at a wilderness therapy camp in North Carolina, according to what camp staff told state investigators

A 12-year-old boy might have suffocated at a wilderness therapy camp in North Carolina, according to what camp staff told state investigators

A 12-year-old boy found dead after spending the night in a tiny tent at a North Carolina wilderness therapy camp earlier this year may have suffocated in that tent, a staff member assigned to check his breathing in the night told state investigators. Staff at Trails Carolina did not visually check the boy overnight and …

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A staff member at a North Carolina wilderness therapy camp said that a 12-year-old boy, who was found dead after spending the night in a small tent earlier this year, may have suffocated in the tent. The staff member was supposed to check his breathing during the night.

The staff at Trails Carolina did not physically check on the boy during the night and reported that they believed they heard him breathing during the required checks at 12 a.m., 3 a.m., and 6 a.m. However, the boy was discovered dead and cold at 7:45 a.m. when the staff tried to wake him, as indicated in a detailed inspection report obtained by the Charlotte Observer from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The Charlotte Observer obtained a lengthy inspection report from the state Department of Health and Human Services..

The staff member assigned to perform the night checks admitted to investigators, "I didn’t check as thoroughly as I should have." The report mentioned that the staff member said, "My actions that night were to perform night checks … that was my responsibility, which I failed on. … I do feel like the bivy (tent) had a lot to do with it."The staffer stated, "I could have opened [the tent] up, repositioned him" when questioned about what they could have done differently that night. They also indicated that they believed the boy suffocated.

Investigators questioned the staffer about what could have been done differently that night. The staffer responded that they could have opened the tent and repositioned the boy, confirming that they believed the boy suffocated.

The 12-year-old boy was found dead on the morning of February 3, the day after he arrived at the therapy camp, as reported by CrimeOnline. The boy was required to sleep in a small tent, known as a bivy, on his first day at the camp. The tent limits movement and has an alarm. Staff members also sleep near the children in the bivy, staying within reach.When first responders arrived, the staff had removed the boy from the tent and placed it in a corner. However, they claimed that the boy had somehow turned around in the tent, with his feet facing the wrong direction.

Another camper shared that sleeping in the bivy was unpopular and that it was challenging to seek assistance while inside. The camper mentioned having to tap the staff or roll on top of them to wake them up.

Trails Carolina responded to the state report, stating that it was "inaccurate and misleading in many respects." The organization is collaborating with the state agency to address any necessary clarifications and corrections.

The organization emphasized that the cause of death has not been released by the medical examiner and cautioned against making speculative statements. They also addressed the inaccuracies in the state report and their ongoing cooperation with the relevant authorities.

State authorities closed the facility in February and announced plans to revoke its license in March, citing various deficiencies outlined in the report completed on March 21, including the management of medications for the organization's "students."

Furthermore, this incident was not the first fatality involving Trails Carolina. In November, a 17-year-old boy from Atlanta, Alec Lansing, died after running away from his group, climbing a tree, falling, and succumbing to his injuries. His body was discovered 12 days after the incident.

The Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office said to the Observer that they are still waiting for the medical examiner’s report and analysis of computers taken from Trails Carolina. They are still investigating.

[Featured image: Trails Carolina]

A 12-year-old boy who was found dead after staying overnight in a small tent at a wilderness therapy camp in North Carolina earlier this year may have been unable to breathe properly in the tent, according to a staff member who was supposed to check on his breathing during the night and reported this to state investigators. The staff at Trails Carolina did not physically check on the boy during the night and …

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