SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Former Southlake swim coach Tracey Boyd was found guilty of endangering a child in the June 2016 drowning death of student Elise Cerami.
Both sides agreed to three years probation instead of jail time for Boyd.
“We never wanted her to go to jail. Her family has been through enough. We wanted her to be held accountable,” said Elise’s mother, Lori Cerami. “Our family hopes this is a springboard for change, a way for aquatics professionals to see that there are good standards out there that they can use. They just need to implement them every day.”
Family members say Cerami, 13, loved to swim and was at home in the water. But, the mystery in their heartbreak is what happened in the water that morning she silently drowned surrounded by teammates in the pool. Prosecutors told jurors this week that Boyd, is responsible for the death because she should have been supervising the swim team, and wasn’t.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorneys Vincent Giardino and David Alex focused heavily on surveillance camera footage from the Carroll Aquatics Center. They say there’s a 9 minute lapse during where Boyd isn’t visible and when she reappears, it is with a cup in her hand.
Boyd’s defense team, George Mackey and Sherry Armstrong insist that Boyd never left the pool area, but she was simply out of the camera’s view.
Flanked by supporters, Boyd remained stoic during much of Tuesday’s testimony, but could be seen wiping away tears when prosecutions played video from inside the center where Cerami could be seen heading to the pool for the final time.
Boyd has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Supporters say she is being made a scapegoat for a situation that is a horrible accident.
Meanwhile, family and friends say the hole in their hearts will never heal and there are no winners as the case moves through the courts.
Cerami’s mother released a statement thanking for the DA’s office and Southlake Police for their work on the case, adding, “We hope this case influences aquatic professionals to re-evaluate their safety standards and that parents are encouraged to have water safety conversations.”
The family created a foundation in Elise’s memory to raise awareness of swim safety.