Investigation suggests boy’s death a homicide

Investigation suggests boy’s death a homicide »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - An investigation into the death of a Portland teenager at a Central Oregon wilderness camp school suggests a crime may have been committed.

A search warrant was served on the SageWalk Wilderness School but no charges have been filed against the organization or anyone associated with it. But a report obtained by the Bend Bulletin indicates a criminal investigation is ongoing.

Sergey Blashchishena, 16, died while on a hike at SageWalk on Aug. 28. His mother, Lyudmila, said she sent her son to the camp at his request because he wanted to become more productive. After just one day at the camp, Sergey died. Camp staff never called 9-1-1 directly even after Sergey stopped breathing but instead rang a camp nurse.

According to The Bend Bulletin report, in an affidavit Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Poré wrote: “This call began with the announcement of cessation of life and the beginning of CPR. This is a call that should have gone first and directly to 9-1-1.”

Sergey’s mother said in early September that her son displayed signs he was in trouble before he collapsed.

“While they were hiking, he didn’t feel so good, and he asked for a break,” Lyudmila said. “I just was shocked. I could not believe how could my son die from hiking?”

According to the report, “The staff members should have responded more quickly to Blashchishena’s signs of distress on the hike.”

It also said that Poré said he believed Sergey’s death “was a homicide and the result of criminal mistreatment and reckless endangerment by the school.”

It said that Department of Human Services requires that wilderness schools offer its students “no less than 3,000 calories of food per day.”

Poré said that Sergey was only given lentils and rice and may have only received 400 calories during the day.

The Blashchishena family declined to comment on the sheriff deputy’s findings but their attorney said the sheriff’s department is on the right track.

“Obviously, it confirms some of my client’s suspicions about some of the problems that were with the camp, some of the problems with the program, and in particular, the way that Sergey was treated and the way that there was a lack of attention to his medical emergency,” said Gordon Gannicott.

The camp said it has not done anything wrong. In a written statement to KATU News SageWalk Executive Director Michael Bednarz said, “We maintain that we took every step possible to ensure the safety of this student, as we have every student over the course of our 12 year history, and disagree with the Lake County sheriff deputy’s view of the events.”