A 12-year-old boy died in mysterious circumstances less than 24 hours after joining a controversial wilderness camp in North Carolina earlier this month.
The teen’s cause of death remains undetermined after an autopsy confirmed the death as “unnatural.”
Transylvania County authorities said the child was brought to the Trails Carolina Wilderness Therapy Camp from New York on February 2 with his parents’ consent.
First responders rushed to the camp in Lake Toxaway upon receiving reports of a child who had stopped to breathe at 8:10 a.m. on February 3.
Camp staff had initiated life-saving measures but deputies determined the boy was already dead.
The camp aims to address behavioral or emotional issues by connecting with nature. However, in 2021, a former camper alleged she had been kept in inhumane conditions there without showering for 17 days.
“We were denied basic hygiene all the time, it’s just, that was, again...it’s just it’s not normal. It’s not humane.”