Henry’s family speaks out

Henry Bowman Backer. -Courtesy Backer family

The parents of Henry Bowman Backer issued a statement drawing attention to their son’s drowning death and pleading with the community not to forget their child.

In a letter to the editor, Ellie and Stephen Backer say their son, who was 3 years old when he drowned in the Field Club’s pool due to negligence, should be starting kindergarten this fall. “The anguish our family has experienced is impossible to communicate,” the Backers wrote. To see their full statement, as well as a link to the victim impact video they provided to the court, click here.

In June, the Field Club’s general manager Scott Anderson, on behalf of Boathouse LLC, pleaded guilty to corporate involuntary manslaughter by wanton or reckless conduct. In pleading guilty, the club avoided an indictment. The club was put on five years probation and paid $100,000 in restitution, which Henry’s family is donating to the Red Cross for lifeguard training. As part of the terms of probation, Judge Mark Gildea made it clear that neither the club nor its attorneys should publicly contradict the club’s acceptance of responsibility.

“This summer will end soon. Our family’s grief in losing a beloved son, grandson, and big-brother will not,” the letter from the Backers states. “Allowing this tragedy to fade from your community’s memory does a grave dishonor to Henry. We ask that you have the heart to imagine yourself in our shoes.”


  1. This is a tragedy beyond imagination. Like with any personal tragedy, it’s hard for a family to endure. Sometimes the hardest part is to see the world continue on while you are still suffering. I hope you find a way to continue to move forward in ways that honor your amazing child.

  2. As frustrated as I get with my boys, they are here. I have tried to imagine what you are going through, but some part of me blocks the reality. I will think of Henry often and when I feel upset…then I will be grateful I have that reason to be upset.
    There is NO reasoning that this happened and it angers me they got off “scott” free

  3. No one who’s followed this tragic crime and now watched the wrenching, courageous, and gorgeous video highlighting the amazing light of little Henry could ever forget him. May his memory be a blessing forever. And may his loving family and friends feel the warm embrace and comfort of a community that will always remember. Baruch dayan ha’emet.

  4. Not sure what the word (Tragedy) should be but the field club certainly put themselves in a situation to allow this to happen. This was all part of a huge corporation that cared about profits over training. To have inexperienced and not enough supervisors on site of appropriate age to handle the children was inexcusable. This all could’ve been prevented if it was run by a proper nurturing childcare facility. This happened because of the greed of the field club board who cared more about profit than people. The tragedy is that no one at the field club was held responsible and they hid under the corporation‘s name and only to be fined $100,000 for their inexcusable actions that’s a tragedy.

  5. All of us with family know that at any time any of our love ones can be taken from us without any warning. You did nothing wrong. You left your child in the care of a high end club that could afford proper supervision, you had every right to feel your son was secure. Obviously that club lacked the proper management to assure children were being supervised. All of us have left our children with baby sitters, in camp, or sent them on school trips, and we simply must trust the management. I hope you can heal soon, because I just know your son would want that for you.

  6. There are a number of parents here who have lost children, including me. Our adult son Chris died of cancer several years ago.
    I will not forget Henry- or you, for you have already shown mercy towards those responsible, and generosity towards the public in terms of Red Cross training. Thank you.

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