Group home fires caregiver after teen drowns at Edgewater Park

Cleveland group home worker fired after teen drowns

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A group home worker in charge of the care of a 13-year-old boy who drowned at Edgewater Beach last week has been fired.

Rescue crews pulled the body of Shaud Howell from Lake Erie July 8 after two days of searching for him.

Cleveland19 spoke to the boss of the woman who was in charge of his care that night.

Desmond Johnson is the administrator of Quality Care, a group home for teens.

He says the caregiver was supposed to be somewhere else with the teens at the time Shaud went missing.

Johnson says he was devastated and shocked when he heard what happened.

"It's just a tragedy, that here we had this young man, he wasn't with us that long, and this happened to him," Johnson said.

Johnson says Shaud should never have been at the beach that day.

He says the teen should have been at the YMCA as scheduled.

Johnson says the child care specialist took three teens to the YMCA but left around 7 p.m. without asking for permission to change her plans.

She took the teens to the lake where the waters were very choppy and there wasn't a lifeguard on duty.

"Had she called us, we would have said no. It was only 70 degrees that day outside, I don't know what the water temperatures were at the time outside, but normally we like to go in the daytime, especially when there's lifeguards out there," Johnson said.

Johnson says the caregiver called him around 10 p.m. July 6 saying the teen was missing.

Then two days later, they got the devastating news.

Johnson made the decision to fire her.

"She only worked for us for four years. I never had any issues with her, to be honest with you. But I think she kind of made a big mistake by going out and going against the protocol," Johnson said.

Johnson doesn't know exactly what happened on the shore of Lake Erie that day, and he says they want answers, too.

"We're praying for the family, we wish the best for them and we hope there's some closure for them to find out really what happened out there. Because I'm sure the family wants to know too," he said.

Johnson says all of their employees have to pass background checks with Ohio BCI and the FBI.

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