Benjamin "Kamau" Hosch III
Photo: Family photo
Photo: Family photo

Camp director, nature center executive indicted in 5-year-old’s drowning

The director of a summer day camp and the executive director of the nature center where it was held were indicted Tuesday, roughly nine months after a 5-year-old boy drowned there, the Fulton County District Attorney said at a news conference. 

A grand jury deliberated for nearly six hours before formally charging Camp Cricket Director Terri Clark and Cochran Mill Nature Center Executive Director Maribeth Wansley in 5-year-old Benjamin “Kamau” Hosch III’s death. 

“We looked at the folks who would’ve been in charge and the person who would’ve been given directions,” Fulton district attorney Paul Howard said. 

Clark was indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge.

Wansley faces one misdemeanor count of operating an early childhood learning center without a license. 

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On July 19, Kamau, as he was affectionately known, was one of 13 campers who were told they could splash in shallow water at the south Fulton County facility, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. When it was time to leave the park, he was nowhere to be found. 

Thirty minutes later, Kamau was found unresponsive in a creek. He was taken to a hospital, in cardiac arrest, but later died. While he was missing, no one alerted his parents. 

At the time, Kamau’s father, Benjamin Hosch II, said he’d have been there in 10 minutes. 

In front of news cameras Tuesday, a visibly shaken Hosch and his wife Ayisat Idris-Hosch said they feel robbed of the kind son they had. 

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“It’s hard, but with the support of our family and friends, we’re able to go through it,” Idris-Hosch said. “I’m hoping with this indictment, other children won’t be in jeopardy and other parents won’t feel what we feel.” 

The camp, which ran for 23 years, was ordered to close after the Georgia Department of Early Child and Learning revealed it was operating without a license. In that time, the camp ran without a single incident beyond minor scrapes and bruises, a camp board member told The AJC in July 2017. 

Camp Cricket offered rising kindergarten and first-grade students a variety of outdoor, nature-themed activities, with a different theme each week. 

“An apology in this situation wasn’t going to fix it,” the family’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said at the news conference. “A 5-year-old is dead and children were in a state of danger.” 

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