After escaping the destruction of hurricane Katrina, tragedy strikes an evacuee family in Tyler. Thirteen-year-old Kevin Boudreaux died unexpectedly this weekend. He died after complaining of stomach pains Saturday. He was in Tyler with 29 other family members, many staying at the Green Acres Baptist Church shelter.
"It was very unexpected because who would have thought I would be in Texas talking about my son who was healthy and suddenly died," said Kevin Lumar, Kevin's father. "It's unbelievable." Kevin was swimming in a local hotel pool on Saturday with his family. As soon as he got out, family say he began complaining of cramps.
"All they did was swimming, playing, laughing like his usual self because he like to smile and have fun, and all of a sudden everything just, snaps, like a snap of a finger it went down," said Roy Lumar, Kevin's uncle. His family brought Kevin back to the Green Acres shelter after he began feeling sick. The American Red Cross says they noticed Kevin was not feeling well and immediately brought him to ETMC hospital where he later died. Doctors say they do not know the cause of death, but know Kevin did not die from an infectious disease.
"It was probably a natural type of event, and having said that we are going to find out the exact cause of that," said Doctor David Lakey, UT Health Center. Doctors also say the shelters are safe for volunteers and evacuees to be in.
Reverend Jerome Milton of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church is helping the family make funeral arrangements. He says he wants the family to know the Tyler community will be there for them.
"This is a double trauma," said Milton. "We want them to know that we just can't imagine losing everything and then losing your child, but we want as a community to be their extended family, black and white and brown and red." The family says they are thankful for the Tyler community, but right now they want to know why a healthy, happy teenage boy would suddenly get sick and die.
"I hope somebody steps forward and let us know what's going on," said Roy. "We'd appreciate it you know. It won't bring him back, but we will feel happy knowing what went on with him." The family says Kevin had just started school Friday at John Tyler High School. They say Kevin loved to play football and wanted to join the football team.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Kevin this Wednesday. It will be at 11:00 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Tyler. Also a fund has been set up for the family. You can send donations to the Texas Baptist Foreign Mission Convention Benevolent Fund at P.O. Box 130117, Tyler, Texas, 75713, or you can drop donations off at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.