DA: No Evidence of Foul Play in Death of Boy, 7

BOSTON, May 11, 2017—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today met with the family of 7-year-old Kyzr Willis and their attorney to inform them that he found no evidence of foul play in the boy’s drowning death in the water near the Curley Community Center in South Boston last year.

The investigation had neared completion late last year but was extended after Willis’ family informed prosecutors of a tipster who claimed to have seen the boy with an unknown adult male in the waters across the harbor. After a review of her statements, prosecutors do not believe the child she saw was Kyzr.

The investigation, which included analysis of interviews conducted by Boston Police homicide detectives and follow-up interviews by District C-6 detectives and Suffolk prosecutors, did not yield evidence that any person deliberately or recklessly caused the child’s death. Prosecutors’ findings are consistent with those of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which last year ruled his death an accidental drowning.

The evidence established that Kyzr Willis and two young family members signed in at the Boston Center for Youth and Families Summer Youth Activities Program on the morning of July 26 and were among 56 children supervised by about 30 staff members who ranged from high school age through adulthood. At about 1:30 pm, one staffer reported, Kyzr was seen in the program’s Teen Center and was directed outside to the beach in front of the Curley Community Center. Staff reported last seeing Kyzr coming out of the water between 1:30 and 2:00. He was wearing a bright yellow bathing suit and a distinctive bright orange swim-shirt.

Between 2:15 and 2:30, lifeguards began the process of calling children out of the water At some time between 2:15 and 2:40, the first staff member reported that Kyzr Willis was missing. Lifeguards immediately began their water search protocol, and the program’s administrative coordinator called 911 at 2:49 pm. Harbor Patrol officers using a remotely-operated, camera-mounted vehicle located the child’s body in about 9 feet of water a short distance west of the breakwater between the K and L street beaches.

According to lifeguards, the tide coming in – as it was on the afternoon of July 26 – not only raises the water level in the area significantly but also makes it more difficult to swim. These facts, in conjunction with the absence of physical trauma, strongly suggest that the child made his way back into the water unbeknownst to staffers, was unable to stay afloat, and drowned.

Conley noted that, in the aftermath of Kyzr’s tragic death, the City of Boston announced a series of revisions to the safety policy at the Curley Center, all of which were designed and intended to try to prevent another death. As the county’s top law enforcement official, he encouraged all with the responsibility for children’s safety in the water to do everything in their power to ensure the welfare of those children.

In a meeting with the child’s family today, prosecutors provided their attorney with a copy of the investigative file in the event that they wish to review its findings.





All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.