Family: Teen helped swimmer before drowning
PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WHDH) -- A day after he drowned in a Plymouth pond, the family of a Brockton teen was remembering him for his selfless attitude Saturday; the victim's sister says he was trying to help another swimmer at the time.
Police say Raphael Perez was under the water in Charge Pond for a few minutes before he was found. His family says the 18-year-old knew how to swim but they believe he may have died trying to help someone who didn't.
It was a peaceful spot in Myles Standish State Forest -- picked for an annual church camping trip -- until panic set in at around 7 p.m. Friday when Perez disappeared beneath the surface.
Monica Perez says her 18-year-old brother started to struggle after helping a weaker swimmer who was trying to reach a boat.
“He helped her. She got back. But he got tired out and gave up,” she said.
Minutes later Raphael was found about 100 feet from the shore on the bottom of the pond. Friends and family say helping others was always part of Raphael’s nature.
“If you were upset he would literally brighten up your day,” Jammie Allen said.
Perez was well known by friends for the music and the poetry he wrote. His father calls him an angel, but on Charge Pond loved ones think he acted more like a hero.
“When we were with him life was lived to the fullest as if it was going to be the last day,” Tyiquelle Lopes said. “That's how he was. That's the type of person he was. He would give to others before he'd think of himself.”
There's a roped off area for swimmers at Charge Pond, but there were no lifeguards on duty when Perez drowned.