Autopsy results released in death of Arizona boot camp teen-ager

Arizona Republic/August 23, 2001

The July death of a 14-year-old boy at a boot camp for troubled youth was ruled an accident and resulted from complications of near-drowning and dehydration from heat exposure, according to the final autopsy report released today. Anthony Haynes was participating in a "tough love" boot camp near Buckeye, west of Phoenix, when he died July 1.

The autopsy report by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office said Anthony was asked to stay in direct sun light for between one and five hours in 111 degree heat.

When Anthony became delirious, "he was observed eating dirt," the report said. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said authorities were continuing to investigate allegations of abuse at the camp.

Campers said they were whipped, kicked, stomped on and forced to put mud in their mouths, according to a court document.

"It doesn't matter if the coroner's report says it's accident," Arpaio said. "We'll make a decision soon as to whether we'll be making arrests. You can still have an accident and be negligent too."

The camp was operated by America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association, a nonprofit organization, and Charles F. Long.

Long's attorney, David Burnell Smith, said he agreed with the medical examiner's determination that the death was an accident.

"We're not all confident the report has set forth all the facts that will presented ultimately, but ... we do believe and have held from the beginning that it was a tragic accident," he said.

Neither Long nor any others associated with the camp have been charged with any crime related to the death.

In an affidavit requesting a warrant to search Long's Scottsdale home, sheriff's investigators said the former Marine and his group abused the campers, deprived them of adequate food and water, denied them medical care and caused Anthony's death.

The document said Anthony began hallucinating on July 1 at the camp and refused to drink water. When he became nonresponsive, camp supervisors took him to a motel and left him in the tub with the shower running.

They returned to find Anthony with his face in the water. Supervisors were told to bring Anthony back to the camp because Long thought the child was faking, authorities said.

When he was returned to the camp, he wasn't breathing. Camp supervisors called 911, but Anthony never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead later that night.

The autopsy report also said the teen-ager had broken ribs, likely from CPR, and multiple cuts and bruises on his head and torso from medical help he later received.

Anthony's mother, Melanie Hudson, did not answer her phone Thursday afternoon, but left a message on her voicemail.

"I want to thank everybody for all the help they've given us during this trying time during the incident with Tony but at this time my attorney has advised me not to make any statements," Hudson said in the message.

Hudson's attorney, Mike Wade, said the family needed time to read the autopsy report and expected to make a statement Saturday.

"We haven't had a chance to digest it yet," Wade said. "We haven't had the chance to review it and consider what it means."

Anthony's father, Gettis Haynes Jr., who lives in Hannibal, Mo., did not answer his phone Thursday. He filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the camp and its operators in late July, alleging Anthony "suffered various forms of physical and mental abuse."

The boy's death has renewed interest among lawmakers who argue states should impose tougher regulations on privately run youth boot camps, which are often subject to little or no regulation.

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