The Oklahoman

Parents sue in death from amoeba infection


ARLINGTON, Texas – The parents of a 3-year-old boy who died after being infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba that was found at a Texas splash pad he’d visited sued the city that operated it for negligence on Monday.

Tariq Williams and Kayla Mitchell filed the lawsuit against the city of Arlington in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth. Their son, Bakari Williams, died Sept. 11 after being hospitaliz­ed with primary amebic meningoenc­ephalitis, a rare and typically fatal infection caused by the naegleria fowleri amoeba.

The city announced his death last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the amoeba in water samples collected from the splash pad Bakari had visited. A city official also said that a review had found gaps in their daily inspection program that resulted in maintenanc­e standards not being met at the city’s splash pads.

The lawsuit said city employees “failed to adequately monitor and chlorinate the city’s splash pad water, making the splash pad unreasonab­ly dangerous.”

Shortly after their last visit to the splash pad at Don Misenhimer Park, Mitchell said her son developed a fever of more than 102 degrees, felt weak and could not eat or drink anything.

“A little more chlorine, and this child would be here today,” said Stephen Stewart, one of the family’s attorneys.

A city spokeswoma­n declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday because city officials had not yet seen it.

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