HOUSTON — The father of an autistic boy who drowned while visiting the Pearland home of a former Rockets player has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages.
Marcus McGhee, 9, was the nephew of former NBA player Marcus Camby. The boy’s family was in town, visiting from Connecticut, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The trip took a turn for the worse on Nov. 24, 2016 when the younger Marcus went missing.
Surveillance video captured the boy exiting the rear of the home. He was dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants, but was not wearing any shoes. The family was not only concerned for the boy because of his young age, but because he had special needs.
An alert immediately went out and dozens of citizens in the tight-knit community helped comb the area. It was a huge joint effort on behalf of the Pearland Police Department, Pasadena PD, HPD choppers and Texas Equusearch.
Because of the boy’s special needs, extra precautions were used during the search. Police gave instructions of not initially using ATVs or horses because loud noises or large animals could have possibly frightened the child, but bloodhounds were brought in to try to track the scent of the lost boy.
Heavy focus was also placed on searching a bayou and a retention pond in the area because water is an attraction to some autistic children.
Marcus’ father and mother were not married, but were co-parenting the child. Marcus spent a great deal of time with his father, who was in Connecticut with his family when he received the call that his son was missing. The father immediately booked a flight to Texas, and arrived the next day to assist in the search.
The following day, Marcus’ lifeless body was found in a pond.
Marcus’ father filed the lawsuit, claiming that Camby knew of the boy’s special needs but did not do anything to secure his home. He feels that Marcus’ death was preventable.
The lawsuit states that Marcus was a sweet, loving boy who was severely autisitic with reduced cognitive abilities. In addition, the lawsuit states that Marcus was “almost entirely non-verbal, so that even when he could appreciate that he was in danger, he could not call out for help.”
Camby’s sprawling property has a main house, a secondary house, a pool and a large man-made pond. There was no fencing or other barrier separating the homes on the property from the bodies of water.
Not having protection around the pond is part of the reason the boy’s father is holding the uncle responsible.
“Despite being aware of his nephew’s special limitations, Camby failed to supervise Marcus while he was at his house. Camby also put no measures in place to keep Marcus from the pond. While under Camby’s care and protection, Marcus strayed from the house and drowned in the pond. Had Camby exercised the most basic of precautions, this tragic death could have been avoided,” the lawsuit states.
It is not known how much the plaintiff is asking for, but the lawsuit outlines a desired recovery for a number of losses, including past and future pain, suffering and mental anguish, in addition to past and future loss of consortium, companionship and society.