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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)

The parents of an 8-year-old boy who drowned in Riverside Park last summer in the city of Oconomowoc filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this month against the Wisconsin Taekwondo and Fitness Academy of Oconomowoc.

Brad and Debby Needles accused the Fitness Academy and two of its employees, Oconomowoc natives Nicole Fritz and Nathan Braun, in the lawsuit of gross negligence and reckless conduct during a field trip that took place on July 18, 2013, that resulted in the death of their son, Shane.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Waukesha County Circuit Court on July 9, Shane and a group of young students participated in a field trip sponsored by the academy as part of the summer taekwondo program.

Shane allegedly wandered off a playground unsupervised at some point, and was not seen again by Fritz or Braun - who were supposed to be watching the children - until his body was discovered at the bottom of a river near the park.

Police and emergency services were called to the park around 2:24 p.m. after Braun saw Shane's body floating in about two feet of water. CPR failed to revive Shane at the scene. He was taken to Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead at 3:35 p.m.

The Needles's lawyers allege that the Fitness Academy had been advised that Shane was not a very good swimmer and required careful supervision when he was around water. The lawsuit alleges that Fritz and Braun were not properly trained or instructed by the academy.

Four insurance companies, three unnamed, were also listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

A vigil was held in Shane's honor on July 19 in the Needles's hometown of Nashotah. Family and friends lighted Chinese lanterns in remembrance.

 
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