New details emerge after 6-year-old drowns at Liberty Lake summer camp in New Jersey

Two days after a tragedy that rocked the entire community, police and prosecutors are continuing to investigate after a 6-year-old boy, identified as Michael Stewart, drowned Monday on the first day of camp during the free swim for campers entering first and second grade.

Michael’s heartbroken mom, Enjoli Stewart, spoke with FOX 29 Tuesday.

"Liberty Lakes messed up, big time. Now I don’t have a son anymore, like, that’s heartbreaking," said Stewart. 


Mother speaks out after 6-year-old drowns at South Jersey summer camp: 'Liberty Lakes messed up, big time'

A grieving mother is speaking out and searching for answers after her six-year-old son drowned on the first day of summer camp in Burlington County Monday.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Liberty Lake Summer Day Camp said they closed the shallow pool where the incident happened out of respect and as a tribute for the 6-year-old, despite opening the pool on Tuesday.

In a zoom with parents on Tuesday night, the camp’s director of more than two decades, Andy Pritikin, says Michael was in a group with an adult leader, two teen counselors, and three adult advocates for kids with special needs—one specifically assigned to Michael.

The incident happened in the shallow end of their 20-foot-wide pool with lifeguard ratios that Pritikin says exceed the state standards.

"It is clear and close sidelines if you are standing on the side of a 20-foot pool, you have amazing visibility," he says. "Michael was seen by a lifeguard and immediately pulled out of the water."

Pritikin says they are now making it mandatory for all staff to go in the water with the children in their turtles and freshmen divisions, and are requiring 10-minute buddy checks.

Among the fundraisers in the community for Michael’s family, Lumberton Township Police Lodge 201 partnered with Johnny Longhots. 

If you place an order this week and mention "Lumberton Strong," a portion will go to the family. They also have donation jars in the restaurant.

"Everything that goes in this bin at the end of the night, we put in the back in a safe," says Melanie Myles, manager at Johnny Longhots. "It’s devastating, cannot imagine, I have a 6-year-old."

Michael was a rising first-grade student at Lumberton School District. The district released a statement Tuesday sending their deepest condolences to the family. 

The district says there will be a lemonade stand fundraiser at the Old Fire House on Main Street Saturday to help the Stewart family.

They encourage those in need of mental health support to contact Care Solace at 888-515-0595, which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year to quickly connect you to carefully verified providers in the community.

Two separate GoFundMe links were also set up for the family.

GoFundMe link number one.  

GoFundMe link number two. 

Please consider donating to support Michael's family at this difficult time.