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Popular Keller Central student dies on backpacking trip in West Texas

A Keller Central High School student died Monday while on a backpacking trip at Buffalo Trial Scout Ranch in West Texas. This is a photograph from the ranch’s Facebook page of a previous backpacking trip.
A Keller Central High School student died Monday while on a backpacking trip at Buffalo Trial Scout Ranch in West Texas. This is a photograph from the ranch’s Facebook page of a previous backpacking trip.

A Keller Central High School student on a backpacking trip in West Texas may have died after suffering from heat stroke, a sheriff’s official said Tuesday.

Temperatures on Monday afternoon hovered near 100 degrees when John Reid Comita collapsed while hiking with others at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch in the Davis Mountains.

The teen’s father, John Comita Jr., wrote on Facebook that paramedics and guides performed CPR on his son for more than an hour, but Reid Comita died about 6:30 p.m.

“He hated no one and saw the best in everyone,” his father wrote. “A smart, loving young man gone too early with so much to offer.”

An emergency call had gone out to the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Davis shortly after 4 p.m.

“It was a report of a 16-year-old having a seizure,” Chief Deputy Jerry Walker said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Ranch staff members performed CPR on Comita as emergency crews made their way to the site, Walker said. A U.S. Border Patrol chopper was also dispatched to the scene near Balmorhea, a small town north of Big Bend National Park.

“He was in the very back of the mountains where an ambulance or pickup couldn’t go,” Walker said.

Walker said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of the teen’s death.

Comita was a member of the Central men’s chorus and show choir as a ninth-grader during the 2016-17 school year.

“Without a doubt, Reid was one of the most joyful, happy, vibrant personalities in our program,” choral director Leigh Ann McClure said Tuesday in an email to parents.

“I don’t know a soul who didn’t just adore him,” McClure said. “His presence in the choir room and our lives will be missed immeasurably.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

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