Death at Kerr Youth Camp Probed
San Antonio Express-News
December 6, 2005
An investigation is under way into the weekend death of a 12-year-old
Kerrville boy who was restrained by staff at an Ingram camp for disabled
youngsters, where he'd been placed by the state five months ago.
Emergency medical responders were called to Star Ranch at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday because the youth was unresponsive after allegedly hitting his
head on the ground, said Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer.
The youth, identified as Christening "Mikie" Garcia, had been placed
in "time out" after refusing to obey staff orders, the sheriff said,
"but he evidently got violent and started banging his own head against
the concrete, so they had to restrain him."
Ambulance personnel were unable to revive the boy, who later died at
Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital, Hierholzer said.
Justice of the Peace Bill Ragsdale said preliminary results of an
autopsy Monday at the Travis County medical examiner's office did not
reveal the cause and manner of the boy's death and that toxicology tests
have been ordered.
Hierholzer, who's handling the case as a suspicious death, said the
boy's mother, whose parental rights were terminated by the state months
ago, was upset about her son's fate.
The boy's death also generated grief at the ranch, which is licensed
to serve 32 boys, ages 7 to 17, with learning or physical disabilities
who have been removed from their homes by the state for being physically
abused, said Dave Vinyard, public relations counsel to Star Ranch.
"The mission of this place is to love and nurture kids, and this
death is a terrible thing," he said.
The ranch, opened 16 years ago by nonprofit Star Programs Inc., has
been investigated five times since Dec. 1, 2003, on allegations of abuse
and/or neglect, including instances of inappropriate restraints and
insufficient supervision, said Patrick Crimmins of the Texas Department
of Family and Protective Services.
"Two of those were ruled out, three are pending," Crimmins said. "Any
time a child dies, it is very sad and very unfortunate. We will