Fort Worth family blames Boy Scouts for son's hiking death in lawsuit

Family suing Boy Scouts after son's death

DALLAS-- A recently filed lawsuit in Dallas County District Court blames negligence on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America for the death of a Fort Worth teen three months ago.

Reid Comita,15, died from heat stroke while hiking at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch in June.

"The Boy Scouts of America are responsible for my son's death. It's that simple. They are responsible," John Comita told WFAA in a sit-down interview.

The new lawsuit outlines a series of allegations surrounding Reid's death, namely that he was "...sent on an extremely aggressive hike" in temperatures hovering around 100 degrees with a heat index well over that.

The Comita family had specifically signed Reid up for an introductory backpacking class, under adult supervision, because they felt it was the safest option for their son.

"He wasn't an athlete. He wasn't prepared to go on an advanced hike," his father said.

Photos from the camp's Facebook page show rugged, mountainous terrain meandering through Jeff Davis County in southwest Texas.

The petition further contends that Reid didn't receive proper training at the camp before being sent out on the more advanced hike and that he was accompanied by only two other teenagers, not the required two adults.

The circumstances have left Copper Comita, Reid's mother, baffled, angry and crushed.

"It doesn't take it away. It doesn't make it any better. It's just that much more pain," said Copper.

The lawsuit also outlines communication issues, claiming the Comita family wasn't notified of his death for more than four hours.

"We were calling, and no one could give us a straight answer as to how he was," said Copper.

The backpacking course would have been Reid's final task to accomplish Eagle Scout. His troop has since awarded him the honor posthumously.

"His friends, his troop, have been great," says John. "But we haven't heard from the BSA or organization at all."

The BSA sent WFAA the following statement:

“This remains a difficult time for our Scouting community, and we continue to keep the family in our thoughts and prayers. The health and safety of our youth members is of paramount importance to the BSA, and integral to everything we do. We strive to create a safe environment for youth to experience outdoor adventure."

For Copper, the loss of a son who excelled in studies and choir when he wasn't earning merit badges, is a void that simply can't be filled.

"He was very special," she said.

John says he grew up participating in the Boy Scouts, and that he always felt it was something he could proudly share with his son.

"It was great bonding for us," he said. "On one hand, they pass themselves off as a great, upstanding organization with the 12 points. But those are there for their [the executives] convenience."  

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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