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Trip to beach that resulted in 13-year-old's death may have broken state rule for group homes

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 18:09:04-04

A worker at Quality Care Residential Homes may have broken state rules governing group homes when she took three teens to Edgewater Beach last Friday night.

One of those boys, 13-year-old Shaud Howell, drowned.

According to Ohio Administrative Code, "A residential facility shall permit the children to swim only when a person who has completed training in lifesaving or water safety is present."

Desmond Johnson, the group home's administrator, said the worker who was supervising the teens Friday night lacked that training.

"No, she wouldn't have been able to do that," Johnson said. "That's why it would have been better for her to be out there with lifeguards."

Johnson fired the worker on Wednesday after the group home said she did not have permission to take the teens to Edgewater.

The administrator said the group arrived around 7 p.m. when the lifeguards would have already finished their shifts for the day.

About an hour later, investigators said Howell disappeared in the water.

His body was recovered from Lake Erie on Sunday.

Johnson admitted he was unaware of the rule governing supervision when swimming.

"I never heard that code before," Johnson said. "Usually when we take kids swimming, we go to the Y, or if we go to the beach there are lifeguards out there, so I don't know what that code even is."

He also said he didn't believe that rule applied to group homes.

RELATED: Group home of teen who drowned is target of several investigations

But in an email on Thursday, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services wrote, "The Chapter 9 rules apply to Children's Residential Centers, Group Homes, and Residential Parenting Facilities."

The state, Cuyahoga County, which placed Howell in the group home, and Metroparks Rangers are all investigating the circumstances around the drowning.