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15-year-old foster child drowns on Poplar Creek / May 19, 2010
A 15-year-old boy drowned on Poplar Creek Sunday afternoon while attempting to swim from one dock to another, about 100 feet away from the Lake Gaston shoreline.

Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts said authorities were withholding the identity of the victim, a foster child and resident of Virginia, until decisions are made on whom to notify of the death.

“It’s been a real convoluted situation in going through the process of proper notifications,” said Roberts.

Roberts said the youth was swimming out in the lake with a foster brother, also a juvenile, “and the one who drowned wasn’t a good swimmer and he went under.”

Observers on the shoreline and in nearby watercraft attempted to intervene but “they weren’t able to get to him in time,” said Roberts.

The Sheriff’s Office considers the drowning an accident, although a final determination will come from the State Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond, where the child’s body has been sent. “We don’t expect any foul play. It was just a horrific accident,” said Roberts.

The Lake Gaston Volunteer Fire Department placed the time of the accident at 3 p.m. Sunday. Upon receiving the emergency call, the Brunswick 911 center dispatched the LGVFD, Central Rescue Squad and the Ebony Volunteer Fire Department to the scene.

The first units arrived within three minutes of the call, followed shortly by the Lake Gaston VFD Dive Team.

While waiting for divers from Lake Gaston to arrive, several Ebony and Lake Gaston firefighters attempted to locate the missing youth by free diving. Equipped WRDT Divers entered the water 15 minutes after the victim went under.

Additional units were requested from the Littleton VFD Dive Team, Roanoke Wildwood VFD Dive Team and Gaston VFD Dive Team, due to the size of the area where the boy went under and the uncertain proximity as to where the accident happened.

After searching for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, the victim was located in 8-9 feet of water by one of the divers from the Lake Gaston VFD WRDT.

Also supporting the rescue and search effort were the Brunswick County Sheriffs Office, lead investigative law enforcement agency, and the Virginia Game Commission and the Virginia State Police.

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