New York Times, February 8, 2000

Boy Who Died At Camp Was Asphyxiated
By The Associated Press

OCALA, Fla. (AP) -- A 12-year-old boy attending a wilderness camp for troubled youth died of asphyxiation after being restrained by a camp counselor, officials said.

Investigators said Monday that Michael Wiltsie became combative during a group counseling session Friday at Eckerd Wilderness Camp E-Kel-Etu.

Afte a counselor restrained him, the boy slipped into unconsciousness. He died Saturday at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, and the cause of death was listed as asphyxiation.

No charges have been filed although the case remained under investigation.

Wiltsie was one of about 60 boys at the camp, which opened 24 years ago for boys with criminal records or severe problems at school.

The boys, ages 11 to 17, are required to keep the campground clean, cook their own meals twice a week and design their own tents.

Andy Anderson, a vice president for Eckerd Youth Alternatives, the nonprofit group that operates the camp and 16 others nationwide, said the program is designed to enhance the boys' self-esteem.

The counselor, whose name has not been released, has been placed on paid leave. The boy's family has declined to comment.

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