FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Saying they want answers, the family of the man who drowned participating in the Original Mud Run in April asked for help and information Thursday about the 30-year-old bodybuilder’s death.
Tony Weathers disappeared crossing the Trinity River during the Fort Worth event on April 14. His body wasn’t recovered until the next day. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning.
On Thursday, his family publicly asked for help in understanding what went wrong.
“My baby knew how to swim; he’s been swimming since he was a young child,” said Zenill Traylor, Weathers’s aunt.
Traylor said her nephew had visited Jamaica and swam in the Caribbean Ocean. Traylor reared him and four brothers and sisters, along with a household of cousins.
She said she watched him grow from a skinny kid into a bodybuilder, a model and a marathon runner. A photo she clutched on Thursday showed him posing before that fateful Mud Run.
And YouTube video shows what he might have seen as he joined thousands of runners at the Trinity River Crossing.
In the video, participants are heard shouting for a lifeguard.
“May of the witnesses are saying that there were no lifeguards,” Traylor said. “And to have his life taken, just snatched away like that, our family is torn. Our family is just devastated.”
The 10k race featured about 30 obstacles that had participants climbing over walls and drudging through muddy ditches. As many as 100 safety monitors were on the course, organizers said, and lifeguards were stationed at the water crossings.
Participants, however, describe chaos, particularly on the water crossings –– where Weathers died.
“I don’t care if they had 10 lifeguards out there,” participant Mia Walters told CBS 11 News in the days after the event. “They should have done something and nothing was done. They can argue the number of people all they want, they still weren’t able to handle it, and it wasn’t handled.”
Weathers’s cousin, Shontavia Taylor, spoke Thursday about growing up with the future bodybuilder.
“He always wanted to be fit,” Weathers’s cousin said. “As he grew older, he started getting into the fitness and working out, bodybuilding. He was actually training for the Iron Man” triathlon.
His family remembers Weathers as humble and determined. A football player as well as a choirboy, he was a college graduate with a business degree.
And, once, a seemingly unlimited future.
“But I’m going to miss that because my baby isn’t here,” Traylor said.
Weathers’s father died while his son was a boy. His mother has now filed paperwork for Traylor to be the administrator of his modest estate.
“I would never have thought that my baby would’ve gone before me,” Traylor said. “No parent, you prepare your kids for your death, you don’t –– a parent doesn’t prepare themselves for the death of their child.”
DFW Runs, an area group that promoted and helped stage the Mud Run, had no comment Thursday.
The family’s attorney has asked the group to retain all pertinent records.
“I don’t know what the evidence is going to show,” said George ‘Tex’ Quesada. “Let’s take a look at it and see what happens.”
The family has not filed a lawsuit. They how that by going public now, anyone with information on the event will come forward. Their attorney can be reached at 800.900.5373 or at this website.