CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS, Ga. — Georgia officials shut down a summer camp outside Atlanta after a 5-year-old boy enrolled in the program died on a field trip.
Camp Cricket Summer Day Camp in Chattahoochee Hills was an unlicensed program that was unknown to state officials until Monday, said Reg Griffin, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Griffin said the agency is investigating how Benjamin “Kamau” Hosch III died Friday at Cochran Mill Nature Center. Meanwhile, state officials ordered the camp to close Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The boy’s mother, Ayisat Idris-Hosch, was overcome with emotion as she described her son during a news conference Monday at her attorney’s office.
“He was his father’s shadow and he was my heart,” she said through tears. “He was spontaneous, he was kind-hearted and he was loved by everyone who ever met him.”
Kamau and 12 other children ate lunch near a waterfall and were allowed to splash in a shallow adjacent creek, Cochran Mill board member Steve Hurwitz told the Atlanta newspaper.
The boy was later found in a pool of water, said Chattahoochee Hills City Manager Robert Rokovitz. He was a short distance away from the creek, in an area that had not been visited by the group, Hurwitz said.
Chattahoochee Hills fire officials administered CPR on Kamau, who was in cardiac arrest, according to the police report. He died at some point after an ambulance began transporting him to a hospital, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
“As you can imagine, we are devastated by this tragedy,” Hurwitz said.
Georgia law allows for situations where a child care service can be exempt from state licensing requirements based on the ages of children, duration of the program, hours of operation, specific activities, or where services are offered free of charge.
“It appears that Camp Cricket was neither licensed nor had it applied for and received exempt status from the state,” Griffin said.
The boy’s mother said that what happened to her son should not happen to anyone’s child.
“No one should ever feel as broken as I feel right now,” she said through tears.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com