Teenager's camp death
By MARLON A. WALKER
A 14-year-old fell ill at
an Outward Bound camp. The Medical Examiner's Office says
all signs indicate no trauma was involved.
Published June 27, 2006
Authorities hope an autopsy will
determine what killed a 14-year-old Punta Gorda youth who fell
ill the day he was to be released from a De Soto County Outward
Officials at the Pinellas-Pasco
Medical Examiner's Office say all signs indicate there was no
physical trauma involved.
"I can tell you it's looking like
a medical-type death," said Bill Pellan, chief investigator for
the Medical Examiner's Office. "There are no indications of any
Dillon Peak died at All
Children's Hospital on June 17 - a month to the day after he was
to be released from the camp. His mother, Pamela Peak, was
driving to pick him up when she received a call saying he had
been hospitalized. He later slipped into a coma. Now, she's
blaming the Department of Juvenile Justice, saying the teen
didn't get proper medical care at the outdoor camp for low-risk
offenders ages 14 to 18.
She told the Charlotte Sun that
she later learned her son had been hospitalized twice in four
days. The first time he was suffering from strep throat and had
a 104-degree fever, she said. He was given Tylenol and sent back
to the camp, where he was staying with several other boys in a
Pamela Peak said her son's
doctors think the teen might have had a rare type of
encephalitis on top of the strep throat.
Juvenile Justice Department
spokeswoman Cynthia Lorenzo said an internal review is being
conducted to see if the situation could have been handled
better. An environmental specialist investigated afterward and
found no signs of anything contagious at the camp, she said.
Citing confidentiality laws,
Lorenzo declined to discuss details of Dillon's illness or how
it was handled at the camp.
Dillon, who moved with his mother
to a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park after
Hurricane Charley damaged their home in 2004, was sent to the
Outward Bound camp for six months after he and some other boys
stole a golf cart from an apartment complex, and he also got
caught trespassing, his mother said.
It's the second death in a
Florida disciplinary camp to make headlines this year. In
January, Martin Lee Anderson died after collapsing at a boot
camp operated by the Bay County Sheriff's Office. A security
videotape shows guards beating Anderson, but the county medical
examiner ruled after an autopsy that the boy died of a blood
--Information from the Associated
Press was used in this report. Marlon A. Walker can be reached
or 727 893-8737.