Boy said abandoned by friends while drowning

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 14, 2016

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WHAT should have been an unforgettable experience for 12-year-old Nicholas Maxwell ended in tragedy after he went to a river in Tredegar Park, St Catherine, on Sunday morning with his friends

The body of the Jonathan Grant High School first form student was found yesterday about 9:00 am by his relatives, who had been searching for him from the previous day.

The lad, who had never known the joy of swimming in a river, had, along with three of his friends, left his home in the Waterloo community in the parish and had travelled about a mile-and-a-half on foot to get to what that the residents call ‘Badmind River’.

"A the first time him a go river; him jus bad lucky," one of his cousins was overheard saying.

According to Nicholas’s aunt, Allison Johnson, who was among a crowd of people at the river yesterday, her nephew drowned shortly after he and his friends arrived there. She claimed that his friends, instead of returning to the community with news of the tragedy, lied about Nicholas’s death and pretended that they had not seen him.

Johnson said that she and Nicholas’s parents had left him at home with his older sister and cousins and that she was informed that he left about 9:00 am with his friends who returned about an hour later.

She said that some time after, the boy’s sister noticed his absence and started asking for him. But his friends, with whom he had left the home, denied knowing his whereabouts.

"The little youth dem never waan come talk, dem say dem never go river wid him, they even came to the home calling him after dem come back from the river," Johnson said.

"It was after his parents came home in the evening about 7:00 and were searching for him, and a lady hold on to one of the boys who had gone with him to the river, he said he was there, and they saw when he drowned and they ran," Johnson alleged.

A young man, who identified himself only as Collin, said he was among a group of friends and relatives who found the body, which they fished from the river using a piece of bamboo.

Collin said they had visited the scene on Sunday night and had found his clothes, but because of the darkness they could not find his body. As a result, they called off the search until early yesterday morning.

The grieving parents were spotted at the scene looking on in despair, but were too distraught to speak.

However, Johnson said that her nephew will be greatly missed by his family.

"Nicholas is so kind and gentle-spirited and he is easy to get along with," she said, her use of the present tense suggesting that she had not accepted the fact that he was dead.

Meanwhile, a detective from the Spanish Town Police Station who was at the scene, said that the boy’s death is being investigated as a suspected case of drowning.

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