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Lindenhurst, New York Family Mourns Death of Autistic Son (Ryan Barrett)

By Steven Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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A Lindenhurst, New York family is mourning the drowning death at a Catskills campground of their oldest son, Ryan Barrett, a teenager with autism and a history with seizures.

Ryan, 14, his brother, Kevin, 6, and their father, David Barrett, 43, had gone to the North South Lake Campground in Haines Falls on Thursday afternoon on their annual father-son camping trip. Some eight families make the trip, and Ryan eagerly looked forward to it every year, said his mother, Mary Ellen Barrett.

“He loved this trip,” she said Saturday. “It was what he talked about all year.”

The group was setting up tents when Ryan went to play at a shallow creek about 20 yards from the campground.

“He was there one minute and gone the next,” David Barrett said.

When the father and others realized Ryan was missing, they immediately began searching for him but couldn’t find him. They called state police, who searched for him overnight.

At 10 a.m. Friday, police found the teenager’s body, face-down under a culvert leading from the creek into North Lake, a 70-acre lake that is one of two lakes at the campground, according to New York State Police Investigator William Fitzmaurice.

David Barrett said his son had not wandered off, but had suffered a seizure.

“Everybody knew where he was. He fell in an odd place and disappeared from view,” he said.

Ryan’s death is the second such in the area in the past month, Fitzmaurice said.

Mary Ellen Barrett writes a blog about her experiences as home-educating mother of eight. In April, she wrote a poem about Ryan during Autistic Awareness Month. Read it here.

You can read more about this story at the New York Daily web site a Family Mourns Death of Autistic Son.