Parents, attorney open up about 4-year-old’s drowning death

Israel "Izzy" Scott
Israel "Izzy" Scott(Courtesy: Yolanda Rouse Photography)
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 2:45 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We have new details about a drowning that claimed the life of a 4-year-old boy on his second day of swimming lessons.

With no foul play suspected, the autopsy determined Israel “Izzy” Scott’s drowning on June 14 was accidental. But Izzy’s family asked attorney Lee Merritt’s office to investigate civil negligence.

News 12 spoke with Merritt as well as Izzy’s parents, Walter and Dori Scott, in an interview.

Merritt told News 12 that the family is asking Burke County prosecutors to investigate a claim of criminal negligence to take this before a grand jury, then grand jurors can choose an indictment.

Izzy Scott’s parents describe their son as a people person and very smart.

He had a love for being in the water, so his parents signed him up for swim classes.

The unthinkable happened, and now it’s been almost an entire month since Izzy passed away on his second day of swim lessons.

As they look for closure, his family is still without answers to what happened that day.

“I’m an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I’m crying looking at pictures and looking at videos,” said Dori Scott, mother.

She says his smile could light up any room he walked into.

“He was just friendly, very sweet, very smart. He was just starting to learn how to read and write his name,” she said.

Izzy was a people person with a big personality and enjoyed trying new things

“He just loved adventure. He wasn’t scared of nothing,” his mother said.

Not even the water.

Izzy’s father, Walter Scott said: “He’s the kind of son that loved beach trips and playing in the water. That was his favorite thing to do, and in our minds, we were doing the right thing in our minds.”

Merritt shared with us what the Burke County Sheriff’s Office told the family.


Izzy drowned near the end of the swim lesson, about 10 minutes before his lesson was over and it transitioned to a new class, Merritt said.

Merritt said it was unclear how many kids were in the class. Ten minutes before the class ending, the next class came in and it’s the habit of the instructor to have the kids swim the length of the pool, Merritt said.

The last time the instructor reported working with Izzy was just before the students swam the length of the pool when he was picking up rings at the bottom of the pool.

It was her habit to wait in the deep end of the pool and let all the swimmers pass her and she would be the last one to get out, Merritt said.

Merritt said Izzie’s family was told that as other families came in, the instructor was speaking with them when someone noticed Izzy was still in the pool and that he was underwater in the deep end.

Merritt said there was an approximately 10-minute gap between when she last saw Izzy and the time he was discovered drowning in the pool, and authorities don’t know what happened in that gap.

The incident happened at a private residence that was not the instructor’s home, but she was a licensed professional, Merritt said the family was told.

Merritt said authorities are looking into making sure business was conducted properly with certifications, personnel available to deal with the number of children, and meeting safety requirements.

Walter Scott said: “We still wake up every day wishing that we could’ve done something different.”

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