Family Sues Texas City After Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Young Son

By Anna Gallegos

October 5, 2021

Brain-eating amoeba infection, naegleriasis
Photo: Getty Images

A family is taking on the city of Arlington after their young son died from a rare brain-eating amoeba.

“Bakari was a loving, energetic, passionate, sweet, beautiful and innocent boy. He didn’t deserve to die in this manner," father Tariq Williams said in a Monday press conference.

Bakari Williams, 3, became incredibly ill in early September after visiting the splash pad at Arlington’s Don Misenhimer Park a few times with his family. The young boy died on September 11 from amebic meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria fowleri can be found in the soil and warm fresh water, but is killed by chlorine. It enters a person's body through the nose and travels to the brain where it can cause deadly inflammation. Contracting the amoeba is incredibly rare, and there have been less than 50 known cases in Texas since the 1960s.

The boy's parents, Williams and Kayla Mitchell, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Arlington and are seeking more than $1 million in damages. The family's lawyer called Bakari's death "100% preventable," the Dallas Morning News reported.

A city investigation linked the amoeba Naegleria fowleri back the splash pad at Don Misenhimer Park. It found that city employees were not properly maintaining the splash pad and treating the water.

"Part of our job as city leaders is to protect our citizens, and we failed, we absolutely failed," Arlington Mayor Jim Ross told WFAA in September.

Arlington closed all of the city's splash pads after the investigation.

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