News 4 Investigates: No charges filed after boy, 6, drowned at St. Louis County summer camp
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The family of a 6-year-old who drowned at a summer camp run by St. Louis County told News 4 they learned prosecutors will not be pursuing criminal charges.
In July 2022, TJ Mister drowned at the Kennedy Recreation Center pool. TJ’s mom, Olga Mister, said on Monday she learned St. Louis County prosecutors saw no criminal intent in TJ’s drowning.
Mister said she is devastated by the decision, and she believes someone should be held accountable.
Most of what is publicly known about the drowning are from a report by Starguard Elite, a lifeguard certification company. The report the county released is six pages long and the names of staff are blocked out.
That report found the day TJ drowned the pool only had one lifeguard despite requiring two to open, the staff didn’t use a life-saving AED even though they had one, and the 911 call was routed to a center in Colorado.
Emails obtained by News 4 Investigates show in the months before the Kennedy Center pool was opened, the county struggled to hire lifeguards and some staff raised concerns about safety and questioned if the pool should be opened for the summer.
It’s those things the Mister family keeps pointing to as part of why they believe TJ’s death was preventable.
“We just want the truth, like what happened, why did it happen, how did it happen and how do prevent from happening again, because obviously, it wasn’t right,” Olga Mister said. “He’s gone and he’s not coming back, and no matter what we do he’s not coming back.”
News 4 Investigates asked the prosecutor’s office to confirm that no criminal charges are being sought, but they did not comment.
The Mister family is suing the county in a $40 million wrongful death civil lawsuit.
The Mister family believes what happened to TJ highlights a bigger problem with camp safety, since there’s no standard licensing or regulation for camps in Missouri.
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