Suspicious Death: Police Investigate Child’s Demise

( – Police are calling a 12-year-old boy’s death at Trails Carolina Camp in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, “suspicious.”

The unidentified boy was found dead in his cabin Feb. 3, just one day after he arrived at the therapy wilderness camp from New York.

According to the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the boy’s death does not appear to be from natural causes, and he was dead “for some time” before being found not breathing and unresponsive. He was found about 24 hours after his parents dropped him off at the Trails Carolina Camp, a self-described “wilderness camp for troubled youth.”

Four adult staff and other minors had been assigned to the same cabin as the boy. The adult staff have been placed on leave, and the other minor campers moved to minimize the traumatic effects of the boy’s death, according to the camp.

On Feb. 6, police executed a search warrant at the camp and at a location 30 miles away, where the minors who shared the cabin with the boy were moved.

Investigators stated that the camp “has not completely cooperated with the investigation.”

However, the camp issued a statement Feb. 8, claiming the statement from investigators “does not present an accurate account of the facts.” The camp stated that preliminary findings from the investigation do not suggest foul play or the involvement of other campers. The camp’s statement said its internal investigation and an investigation conducted by outside professionals found no evidence that the program caused harm or failed to supervise the boy. The camp also said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

This is not the first time there has been an issue at the camp. In 2022, a former employee said the program does not help provide professional treatment and therapy to its campers as promised and said the program uses restraints for those who are a problem for staff. In 2017, a 17-year-old camper ran away from the program and succumbed to hypothermia.

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