1.3 min readBy Published On: July 28th, 2016Categories: News4 Comments on Investigation continues in tragic death of Kyzr Willis

On Wednesday, city official placed the director of the Curley Community Center on paid administrative leave after the tragic death of Kyzr Willis, 7 who attended a summer day camp at the center.

On Tuesday, a massive four hour search by Boston Police and Massachusetts State Police ended tragically with the discovery of the missing 7 year-old boy’s body in the water around 7pm.

Willis was last seen around 2:15pm at the beach at the Curley Community Center. A 911 call was made roughly a half hour later.   The center was closed on Wednesday while police investigated.  The center is back open for adults, however the drop-in day camp run by Boston Centers for Youth & Families is still closed.

According to the Boston Globe, on the day of the fatal drowning, 56 children attended the camp. It was supervised by 25 teenage counselors, two supervisors, and the director of the Curley Community Center. Also on duty were eight lifeguards with at least two assigned to the camp beach.  Mayor Marty Walsh described the camp as a “drop-in” program meaning it is not subject to the same regulations as other city camps.

Boston police is still actively investigating and trying to piece together the timeline of Tuesday’s events.

Mayor Marty Walsh released the following statement on Tuesday:

“The City of Boston is devastated to learn of the tragic loss of Kyzr Willis, and I will be working closely with Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the Boston Police Department until we know exactly what happened. My heart is broken for the Willis family and my thoughts and prayers will be with them.”


  1. mplo July 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    This was a tragedy that should not have happened. More supervision and better training of teenaged staff by experienced adult overseers (18 and over) should’ve been the order of the day, and it shouldn’t have. Sorry that the boy’s family has to go through such a tragedy and the loss of their young child.

    I remember attending both day camp and overnight camp from the mid-1950’s through the mid-1960’s, and getting far greater supervision with more experienced counselors who were in their late teens and above than what appeared to take place at this particular camp.

    I think that low-cost or even free day camps for kids from low-to-moderate income families are fine, but better training of their staff that results in better supervision should be part of such programs.

    Without knowing the boy’s family personally, I offer my condolences and am very sorry about their loss.

    • Lorrie July 29, 2016 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      There is an inherent risk when you take children anywhere. School buses pile 40-100 kids to places like Castle Island, canobie lake, state parks, playgrounds for end of year celebrations. Family lose track of children in Walt Disney World every hour of the day. Children have drowning accidents in their own backyard with parents feet from them.
      This was a tragic accident. At the end of the day, kids run around and gather their things,
      Line up and someone that is missing. L street is a very safe place, thousands of kids have attended camp there for years. I dont think anything like this has ever happened. That staff is devasted by this. They all cared dearly for this sweet boy. The pictures posted of him were from.councelors own phones. Those kids went into frantic mode to find him, they spend hours and hours searching everywhere for him, they couldn’t move from that spot they will all paralyzed in grief and fear. It was an accident..

    • Gracie August 13, 2016 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      You are right this is tragic/ a young boy gone far too soon-But please do not claim to know what kind of training they had or didn’t have. Clearly they have experience and training/These are hard working kids from hard working families/These young staffers are devastated by what happened!There are rules and when kids do not listen and follow them bad things can happen ..The director there is an amazing man who has given back to the kids of this community for decades and well respected by all/ he runs a tight ship and is an asset to our community -the supervisors are great young adults who have worked there since they were teenagers and give 1000% always/ they go over and above with their kids/things happen in the blink of an eye/please do not point fingers/ This child maybe was accounted for and wandered off on his own for all you know-who’s to say ? I would not assume anything! My heart breaks for all involved- my nephew has been down there for years and has had a wonderful time, but he will tell you there are rules to be followed, as there should be/ lets just be kind and offer our love and prayers after such a tragedy

  2. mplo July 28, 2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Oops! My bad!

    As for my comment above. I mean to say that more supervision and better training of teenaged staff by experienced adult overseers (aged 18 and over) should’ve been the order of the day, and, unfortunately, it was not.

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