Family of Lake Jackson boy killed by brain-eating amoeba in water supply files lawsuit

HOUSTON – The family of a Lake Jackson boy killed by a brain-eating amoeba in the water supply has filed a lawsuit.

The city of Lake Jackson and the Brazosport Water Authority are being sued for more than $1M. Will Langley, the attorney representing the family of Josiah McIntyre say BWA and the city were negligent.

READ: Lake Jackson takes responsibility for deadly brain-eating amoeba that killed 6-year-old boy, city manager says

“At the end of the day, no amount of money is going to bring Josiah back to his family. No amount of money can make this right. But it’s important those two responsible are held accountable otherwise that’s why this happens again and again and again,” Langley said.

Langley said a deadly brain-eating amoeba was able to grow in the city’s water supply because tests discovered there wasn’t enough chlorine.

“If the water supply was tested and tested frequently this could have been detected and could have been prevented,” he added. “It’s not as though people don’t know how to protect people from this amoeba. There have been other cases before, people are aware of this danger.”

Josiah, 6, was playing in the water at a city splash pad on Aug. 29, outside of the Civic Center.

City and state officials believe water splashed into his nose allowing Naegleria Fowleri, the deadly amoeba, to travel to Josiah’s brain. The 6-year-old died a week later.

His grandmother, Natalie McIntyre, said she hopes Josiah’s tragic death will bring awareness.

“We never in our wildest imaginations would have imagined that this would have been something that would take out little boy from us,” Natalie McIntyre. “So, we just don’t want to see it happen to anyone else ever again.”

A few weeks after Josiah’s death, the city of Lake Jackson issued a boil water advisory. The state distributed bottled water to residents in need. Gov. Greg Abbott made a trip to Lake Jackson last September promising the state would find out how this happened. The Center for Disease Control was also called in to test the water supply.

“I know the family appreciates that the city and state took it seriously after the fact,” Langley said. “We just wish more cities would take it seriously ahead of time to prevent these kinds of things from happening.

Josiah’s father, Anthony McIntyre, said his son loved the outdoors as much as he did baseball. He said the last few months without Josiah have been tough on the entire family.

“He (Josiah) definitely knew how to make you smile and he’s still doing it to this day,” Anthony McIntyre said. “It’s going to be hard. Very hard.”

Modesto Mundo, city manager for Lake Jackson, said in a statement that they received the family’s petition.

“Josiah’s death was a terrible tragedy and the city holds no ill feelings against the family for filing the lawsuit,” Mundo said.

He said the city will decide which path they wish to take. Mundo also said the lawsuit was not unexpected.