Family of Legionnaires victim reacts to new charges in Flint water crisis

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 1:45 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (01/15/2020) - “I had lots of good years with her. What pisses me off is my kids don’t get that.”

He still struggles to talk about it. Troy Kidd lost his mother, Debra, on August 2, 2015 after Flint’s water source was switched from the Detroit Public Water System to the Flint River, and lead and bacteria leached into the water supply.

Troy’s mother was one of the nine deaths resulting in criminal involuntary manslaughter charges.

”She was always first one up in the morning. She’d be making breakfast casserole. She’d be the one with the big, ugly Christmas sweater on and the big, gaudy pins,” Troy Kidd said.

Debra Kidd was the go-to grandma. The Burton woman loved looking after her grandkids, playing with them, putting a smile on their faces, and making the most out of every holiday.

Those joyful memories like kicking the ball around in the backyard.continued even up to a week before she passed.

“She loved playing with those kids, and they’ll never know that. They’ll never have those memories. They were too little,” Kidd said.

It all came to a screeching halt on August 2, 2015.

Debra Kidd lost her life to Legionnaires’ disease at 58-years-old. They would learn the bacteria that caused it was tied to Flint’s cost-cutting switch from Detroit water to water from the Flint River.

Years later, her son remains at a loss for words, trying to explain to his young daughter what happened to her grandma.

Kidd explained, ”I’ll be like, ‘Oh! Do you remember the time you and grandma would do this?’ and she’s like, ‘Which grandma?’ Because she’s got other grandmas, and then she’ll say, ‘The one that died from the water,’ and it’s like, ‘Yup, the one who got sick because she had the water,’ and you know, how do you explain that to an eight-year-old?”

Now, Kidd is seeing the first steps toward accountability as two former state health officials are each facing nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.

”Glad to see the charges brought back up. Glad to see some faces being, fingers pointed at, and accountability, and having some feet held to the fire, and trying to get some answers here on what actually happened, but still a little apprehensive about what’s actually going to happen,” Kidd said.

Kidd says he just wants to know the truth.

”Just having somebody say, ‘Hey! We messed up. We did this. Instead of just passing the buck,” Kidd said.

To see the full charges and what each of the nine is facing, click here.

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