In Memoriam

Travone Mister Jr

Our hearts are broken over the tragic death of 6-year-old Travone (TJ) Mister, Jr. While in the care of a St. Louis County-run summer camp, Camp Kennedy, TJ was found unresponsive after drowning in the swimming pool at the Kennedy Recreation Center.

Prior to his drowning, the camp counselors and pool administrators were told that TJ could not swim and required a life vest in the water. His parents were assured he would be closely monitored during all swimming sessions. He was not. He was not given a life vest before entering the pool and no one was watching TJ as he entered the pool. Almost immediately upon entering the pool, TJ struggled to breathe and stay above water. He struggled for more than four minutes. Not a single camp counselor or lifeguard noticed as TJ struggled and drowned.

On the day of TJ’s death, St. Louis County opened the Kennedy Recreation Center pool knowing it did not have enough lifeguards to safely monitor the children. The Kennedy Recreation Center Pool requires three lifeguards on duty at all times. At the time of TJ’s drowning, only one lifeguard was on duty, requiring him to monitor more than fifty children in an Olympic-size pool. This falls far below all local and national standards for lifeguards. It was also a direct violation of St. Louis County’s own policies. Not only was the facility woefully short of lifeguards, but once TJ was pulled from the pool the Kennedy Recreation Center did not have the proper life-saving equipment needed to resuscitate TJ.

TJ’s death was both tragic and completely unnecessary and resulted from the reckless choices of the Kennedy Recreation Center.

His family deserves answers and TJ deserves justice. Cofman Townsley is fighting on TJ’s behalf by filing a wrongful death suit to hold those responsible for his death accountable and to make sure this never happens to another child.

We send our heartfelt condolences to TJ’s parents and everyone who loved this little boy. 

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