Preteen Boy Dies After Joining North Carolina Therapy Camp

( – Authorities from the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina are investigating the death of a 12-year-old boy at Trails Carolina camp. The boy was transported from New York to the camp in Lake Toxaway on February 2 but was found unresponsive at around 8:10 a.m. the next morning. Someone from the camp called 911 to report that the boy was not breathing. First responders arrived shortly thereafter and immediately began first aid protocol but stopped when they observed that he had likely been dead for a while.

The camp released a statement with condolences to the boy’s family and made clear that it was cooperating with the investigation. However, the statement also said that the sheriff’s office reported inaccurate details surrounding the boy’s death. The camp said it would also conduct its own internal investigation. Early findings from the autopsy showed that the boy did not die of natural causes, and the sheriff’s office said that the camp was “not completely cooperating” with the investigation.

The boy was assigned to a cabin that reportedly housed four adult staff members along with other minors. The camp’s website claims that its wilderness therapy program helps children become more confident and teaches them how to cope and communicate. However, the boy’s death is not the first to occur at the camp. In 2014, a Georgia boy named Alec Lansing died from hypothermia after he ran away from the camp. Trails Carolina was ordered to pay a $12,000 fine but remained open.

Back in 2021, a woman named Kathleen Reilly recalled her experience at the camp when she was 16 years old during an interview with WBTV Chicago. She said that the program was emotionally and psychologically traumatic, as they would stay out in the wilderness for weeks at a time without having a way to bathe or practice other basic hygiene. She also said that she would pray every night to be able to leave the program even though she was not a spiritual person. The camp is one of many supposed “troubled teen” facilities around the country that have been called into question in recent years.

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