ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A father of a child who drowned at a California summer camp in 2019 is visiting the St. Louis area, fighting for answers in our local tragedy.
Doug Forbes is helping the family of TJ Mister, a 6-year-old who drowned in July at a St. Louis County summer camp. In the middle of his efforts, he sat down with Fox 2 to discuss what he thinks it will take to protect other children.
“My daughter was 6-and-a-half-years-old when she died in 2019 due to egregious circumstances at a summer camp in Los Angeles County,” Forbes said.
Forbes is turning the tragic death of his daughter Roxie into action. He’s in St. Louis this week to meet TJ Mister’s family. Six-year-old TJ drowned on July 20 at the Kennedy Recreation Center pool during a St. Louis County summer camp. More than 10 weeks later, TJ’s parents have few answers.
“This secrecy that we see with regard to camp harm incidents is prevalent. This is not just isolated to St. Louis County. This is something I see nationwide,” Forbes said. “I think the secrecy is to—number one—to protect the bottom line. Unfortunately, these incidents at camps have to do a lot with economics.”
St. Louis County has cited the Misters’ lawsuit as a reason for not talking. FOX 2 confronted St. Louis County Executive Sam Page at a news conference in August, in which he acknowledged they are reviewing what happened.
“We’re going to see what we need to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again in St. Louis County,” Page said. “It’s a tragedy. We all feel terrible about it and we’re going to learn from it.”
The county will provide no answers about what led up to TJ’s drowning. FOX 2 also requested the police investigative report, which we were told—once again—is not yet public because the case is still pending.
It’s been 75 days since TJ drowned.
“We’re not going away. We’re going to be persistent. We’re going to make sure the public gets the answers it deserves,” Forbes said.
Forbes is also working on a documentary about unregulated summer camps called, “To the Moon and Back,” which he says were his last words to his daughter.
Forbes and his late wife launched the Meow Meow Foundation (after Roxie’s comfort doll) following Roxie’s death, to educate people about summer camps he says are mostly unregulated nationwide.