LAKE JACKSON, Texas - On Saturday, a long line stretched through Clute Park for a barbecue fundraiser to help pay for the funeral expenses of six-year-old Josiah McIntyre.
“It was weird because he had never complained of a headache before,” says Josiah’s mom, Maria Castillo.
She says her son’s headache turned into vomiting, a fever, and trouble speaking. On September 8, he died from what doctors discovered was Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba often found in warm freshwater.
“Even throughout the summer, we hadn’t gone to any lakes, rivers, or ponds,” says Castillo.
According to a news release, preliminary tests of water at a splash pad where Josiah played came back negative.
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But more than two weeks after his death, the Center for Disease Control found positive results of the amoeba at three locations, a fire hydrant near the splash pad, the splash pad storage tank, and the water hose bib at Josiah’s home.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a ‘Do Not Use’ advisory for 11 cities serviced by the Brazosport Water Authority on September 25, but less than 12 hours after the advisory went out, it was lifted for all areas except Lake Jackson where Josiah lived with his mom.
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The warnings put a rush on bottled water with stores selling out and putting limits on purchases.
"This is the first stop, and two is the limit,” says Nicole Naquin who was loading cases into her car with her grandson. “We heard about the little boy, so yeah, it's a little scary.”
According to the city, Lake Jackson uses a combination of half and half well-water and the Brazosport supply, but the manager of Brazosport Water Authority told FOX 26 that their testing came back clear of the amoeba, which is why other cities they serve were lifted from the advisory.
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We were unable to reach the Lake Jackson City Manager for more information on the well water.
TCEQ did comment saying they are doing ongoing testing within the city.
While waiting for results, Josiah's mom says she is grateful for her community’s support and hangs on to her son's last words.
“I would tell him that I loved him to the moon and to my heart and infinity and beyond and he was able to tell me back,” says Castillo.