Pastor: 3 Boys Who Drowned Never Swam Before

Boys drowned in shallow creek

Three boys who drowned in a shallow creek on Maryland's Eastern Shore did not know how to swim and had never before been in the water, said a local pastor.

The boys who died have been identified as 12-year-old Christopher Gabriel; his 8-year-old cousin, Yamoul Dona; and their close friend, 12-year-old Vladimir Jacotin.

On Saturday, the boys -- members of a small Haitian community in the area -- had been playing basketball at a church in Federalsburg, Md.

They disappeared around 5 p.m., and were reported missing later that night. On Sunday, their bodies were found in Marshyhope Creek.

Capt. Jerry Kirkwood of the Maryland Natural Resources Police said it's likely the boys went in the water to escape the extreme heat.

However, some members of the local Haitian community say the boys were terrified of water. Rev. Thomas Willeme, a pastor at a local church attended by one of the families, said the boys had never been in the water before.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police are investigating.

In the meantime, the families are facing the challenge of planning the boys' funerals and trying to figure out how to pay for them. The Haitian community in Federalsburg asks that checks be sent to:

Framptom Funeral Home
216 N. Main St.
Federalsburg, MD 21632

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