Police Rule Death Of 12-Year-Old At North Carolina Wilderness Camp A Homicide
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Police Rule Death Of 12-Year-Old At North Carolina Wilderness Camp A Homicide

Police have officially ruled the death of a 12-year-old boy a homicide. The youth passed away at a North Carolina wilderness camp for troubled youths. In the past, the camp has garnered controversy.

As of now, officials haven't revealed the identity of the boy except for his initials CJH. An autopsy determined he died from asphyxia due to smothering. As part of the camp's ritual, they locked him inside a bivy sack, which was a small enclosed tent. It was his first night at Trails Carolina Camp. It's a practice they followed for all campers on their first night at the wilderness camp However, they realized the internal mesh door to the bivy had a tear in it. Instead, they used a weather-resistant door at the opening with an alarm.

Due to the door, the camper found himself unable to breathe. The medical examiner noted that bivy products warn against fully using weather-resistant doors due to ventilation issues.

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Homicide At Wilderness Camp

"He was placed into this compromised sleeping area by other(s) and did not have the ability to reasonably remove himself from the situation with the alarm securing the opening," medical examiners wrote. "The standard protocol was deviated from due to using a damaged bivy and securing the outer weather resistant door instead of the inner mesh panel."

Currently, authorities haven't announced any charges against the wilderness camp despite ruling it a homicide. Previously, Trails Carolina insisted that the death was accidental. However, authorities said the camp hasn't been cooperative with their investigation. They've intentionally tried to distance campers away from detectives.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services shut down the camp in May due to evidence it "endanger[ed] the health, safety, and welfare of clients." Prior to his passing, the 12-year-old had a history of anxiety and had ADHD as well. Upon arriving at the camp, counselors said the boy experienced a panic attack and also refused to eat dinner.

Counselors reportedly checked on him at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. However, they didn't actually check on his condition. Due to the outer layer of the bivy, they couldn't see how he was doing. They later found him "cold to the touch and stiff" at 7:45 a.m. The boy had turned 180 degrees from the entrance. It "would have allowed the waterproof material to fall onto his head and face," according to his autopsy. We'll see what becomes of the situation.