FEDERALSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — Tragedy strikes three Maryland families after their sons drown in a creek. Police say the boys were just trying to cool off on a hot day.

Rochelle Ritchie has new information about the young victims.

Two of the victims were cousins and the third was a close friend. Now all three of their families are in mourning and trying to figure out how to pay for funeral costs.

Yasnibe Dona’s life is one of triumphant gain and tragic loss.

“He always kissed me,” she said.

Just four days after giving birth to her son, she now prepares to bury her youngest sibling,7-year-old Yamoude Dona.

“When I found out he was dead, I felt like I was dead,” she said.

Young Yamoude had dreams of doing karate, but on Saturday he would lose the fight of his life.

“And I said, ‘I promise you when I drive, I will take you to karate school,'” she said.

As temperatures soared above 100 degrees on Saturday, Maryland Natural Resources Police believe the boys– Dona, Vladimir Jacotin and Christopher Gabriel— attempted to cool off in Marshyhope Creek. The water’s depth perception is deceitful, according to the boys’ pastor.

“The water’s calm when its high tide. It’s really misleading. There’s a big dropoff as soon as you go into the river,” said Pastor Peter Smith.

None of the boys knew how to swim. All three drowned. Pastor Smith says swimming lessons nearby are non-existent.

“We live in a community where there’s not a lot of resources to get students to another community where there’s a big pool,” said Smith.

The boys were found dead by officers a short distance from each other.

Dona’s sister says guilt overwhelms her.

“I wish it was me dead instead of him. I love him,” she said.

She also says she’s hoping a fence can be put around that creek to prevent other children from dying.

Police are calling the boys’ deaths accidental drownings.


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