Curley Center Director on Leave After Boy Is Found Dead

An investigation is underway after the death of 7-year-old Kyzr Willis Tuesday at the beachside drop-in program.


Photo via Boston Police

The director of a city drop-in center has been placed on paid leave after the death of a child in its care.

The boy, 7-year-old Kyzr Willis, went missing at the beachside James M. Curley Community Center in South Boston. Authorities found his body at Carson Beach hours later.

“This is a tough day,” Boston Mayor Walsh told reporters in a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “Thousands of families entrust their kids every single day to us here in the City of Boston through our different programs, and we take this trust very, very seriously.”

He did not identify the program’s director.

Walsh described the drop-in center as a less structured environment than a day camp. He said it was a low-cost option for parents to leave children in the care of adults and teenaged overseers and lifeguards.

There were 56 children at the center at the time. Watching over them were 25 counselors and eight lifeguards, in addition to a director, supervisor and assistant supervisor, reports WBZ’s Julie Loncich.

Still unaccounted for is what happened during a half-hour block of time on Tuesday between 2:15 p.m., when the boy is believed to have disappeared, and 2:45 p.m., when staff called the police. Walsh said at the press conference he had just met with Willis’ parents in Dorchester and that many of the details about what happened yesterday are under investigation.

He added that Willis’ family is “devastated by the loss of their child.”

Walsh, who returned to Boston from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia early to attend to the tragedy, said a review of policies at all the city’s camps and drop-in programs has been underway since Tuesday night. He anticipates the study will be complete by the end of the week, and says the city will “act quickly on any potential improvements.”