Family of Teen Who Drowned in Show Low Files a $50 Million Dollar Lawsuit Against School District

On Monday, a lawsuit was filed against the Phoenix Union High School District by the relatives of 15-year-old Christopher Hampton. The lawsuit accuses the district of four instances of gross negligence and wrongful death.

In July 2023, Christopher Hampton went missing for 18 hours after he and his teammates visited Show Low Lake during a Cesar Chavez High School football training trip at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside. After he was reported missing, Sheriff deputies searched from 8 p.m. through 2 p.m. the next day until they found him dead in the lake. The Coconino County Medical Examiner ultimately ruled Hampton’s death an accidental drowning. There were no other signs of trauma.

According to the family and their attorney, the coaches abandoned the Cesar Chavez High School freshman without supervision, despite the presence of “no swimming” signs.  Coaches and administrators were reportedly warned not to go swimming and knew Christopher could not swim. School officials blatantly disregarded warning signs and left Christopher behind after the headcount. Because of their carelessness, Christopher Hampton lost his life.

During October 2023, the family filed a notice of claim against Phoenix Union High School District, Show Low, and state officials. The notice requested $50 million in punitive damages on behalf of the family and estate, in order to settle the allegations.

Following the occurrence, both the school’s athletic director and football coaches, who were accompanying the team, were put on suspension. However, subsequently, they have both stepped down from their positions.