Michael Spears

Community Mourns as Officials Determine Whether Flu Killed Local Boy

What to Know

  • A GoFundMe page has been established for a funeral and memorial.
  • The flu has killed more than 100 people nationwide this season.
  • The resistant Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 is partly to blame for a difficult season.

As a medical examiner performs an autopsy on 12-year-old Dylan Winnik, a neighbor recounts the harrowing experience in which he attempted – unsuccessfully – to save the boy's life.

"It hurts me a lot because I wasn't able to have the opportunity to try and save his life," Dylan's neighbor Andreas Oscar Cabrera said.

Dylan studied at Okeeheelee Middle School. His family thought he just had a cold – something usually much easier to recover from than the flu. On Tuesday – a few days later – Dylan died.

Oscar Cabrera performed CPR in an attempt to bring back Dylan.

"I tried to do what I could because at the same time I didn't know what kind of condition he was in," Oscar Cabrera added.

Julie Houston Trieste, a spokesperson for the Palm Beach School, said grief counselors were issued at Dylan's middle school on Wednesday and Thursday.

Trieste said students will discuss Dylan's death in a supervised discussion, adding that students are able to write letters to Dylan's parents if they desire.

Dr. Samore from Okeeheelee Middle School sent parents a letter informing them of Dylan's passing.

"There are times when a school is challenged by tragedy. Yesterday, one of our students passed away as a result of complications from the flu. This was both sudden and unexpected," Samore wrote. "Parents can be assured that there is no flu epidemic at Okeeheelee Middle School."

"We encourage our staff and students to abide by common and successful practices to maintain good health, such as frequently washing hands," Samore added.

The family is mourning the unexpected loss.

 “To think that my little brother, I’m never going to see him again — it’s unexplainable," Sebastian Roa, Dylan's older brother, said. “How does this happen?”

Dylan was not vaccinated this year, his stepfather Mike Medwin said, adding that everyone should take the flu seriously.

“Just yesterday before his passing, his father told me he had a gigantic pancake breakfast; conversing, just looking normal. His temperature was 98 degrees. And then, within a couple of hours, they found him," Medwin said.

“I want people to not take this lightly ... Go to doctor, hospital, whatever you need to do. Go," Sebastian said.

The medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy to determine Dylan's exact cause of death.

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses and a memorial in Dylan's memory.

"He was and will always be greatly loved by countless family and friends. There is nothing that can ever explain the loss of a beautiful child at such an early age," the website reads. "Dylan was highly intelligent, surprisingly funny, and always full of life busy with his two brothers."

The most aggressive strain of the flu this season, identified as Influenza A virus subtype H3N2, is partly to blame for the nationwide outbreak that has killed more than 100 people.

Contact Us