​​Ex-Boys Home staffer faces extradition for manslaughter

Risco Batten

United States law enforcement authorities are attempting to extradite Jamaican national Larry Levers to Cayman, where he is wanted for manslaughter in relation to the November 2015 death of a teenager at the Bonaventure Boys Home in West Bay.

According to documents filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mr. Levers, 46, was a supervisor at the Bonaventure Boys Home – the temporary living facility for at-risk children under the age of 16.

On the morning of Nov. 29, 2015, Mr. Levers and a second supervisor, Michael Anthony Stewart, took 14-year-old Risco Batten and four other boys on a fishing activity, court documents state. The approved activity was fishing across from the Turtle Centre, but the supervisors allegedly changed the location to an area near Burger King in George Town without approval.

Later in the day, Messrs. Levers and Stewart allegedly moved the boys to a location in South Sound that is marked on navigation charts as Pull-and-be-Damned Point.

After about 15 minutes of swimming, Mr. Levers instructed the boys to come back to shore, but Risco began to struggle and call for help. Court documents state that one of the boys unsuccessfully tried to help Risco, and that Messrs. Levers and Stewart observed but did not attempt to rescue him.

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Mr. Levers called 911, but did not help because he said he “is not a strong swimmer and was concerned about the undercurrent,” states the complaint filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis Viamontes.

Risco was pronounced dead later that day as a result of drowning, and Messrs. Levers and Stewart were placed on leave while police opened investigations into the death.

Both men face charges of manslaughter and child cruelty. But while Mr. Stewart has been attending court appearances – he has filed an application to dismiss the charges that are scheduled to be heard in Grand Court on Sept. 27 – Mr. Levers allegedly left Cayman for Jamaica in September 2016.

According to court documents, Cayman police traveled to Jamaica to interview Mr. Levers in July 2017, but he had already left the country for the U.S. earlier that month under the name Lionel Dwight Levers.

Justice of the Peace Cecile Collins issued a warrant for Mr. Levers’s arrest in January of this year.

Mr. Levers has apparently been detained in the U.S., as the district court docket states that he is scheduled to have a bond hearing there on Thursday. The date for his extradition hearing will be determined at the bond hearing.

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