CHARLESTON - A woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Commerce-Division of Natural Resources for the death of her son.

On May 22, 2012, Stephen Tyler Childers drowned in Beech Fork State Park's lake, according to a complaint filed Aug. 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Patricia Childers claims her son, who was an employee of WVDNR, was operating a riding mower during the course of his employment when the mower slid down an embankment and overturned into the lake.

On May 30, 2012, Patricia Childers sent a letter to the defendant, respectfully requesting that the defendant make an effort to preserve all locations, items and objects related to or possibly related to her 25-year-old son's death, including the riding mower.

Despite several requests, Patricia Childers has never been afforded the opportunity to view the mower and has no knowledge of whether its condition was preserved, according to the suit.

Sgt. Michael Baylous, the public information officer with the West Virginia State Police, told the Herald-Dispatch in a May 24, 2012, article that a trooper from the Wayne County detachment responded to the Four Cloves campground at the park and the incident report states that Stephen Tyler Childers was found in the lake under the mower.

Patricia Childers is seeking compensatory damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by Bert Ketchum of Greene Ketchum.

the case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1459

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