What was supposed to be a fun first trip to Lake Elsinore turned into heartbreak after a 9-year-old drowned while playing with his cousin.
“It’s just tragic,” said Great Aunt Trill Show. “It’s terrible.”
Shaw said her son and nephew, 9-year-old Donte Clark, were playing at Launch Pointe Sunday, throwing stones into the water. As they advanced into the water, the problems began.
“I fell there…three to eight feet,” she said. “They play and don’t really pay attention. They didn’t know.”
The boys started stomping the water before Clark caught Shaw’s son but Clark lost his grip and went under the water. While a bystander pulled Shaw’s son out of the water, Clark never appeared again.
Divers entered the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and began searching for the 9-year-old, but as the hours passed the family became more and more frustrated.
After four grueling hours, divers recovered the young boy’s body.
Shaw said she still struggles with the idea that her son is alive when her nephew is not.
“This is a hard pill to swallow,” she said.
While there are signs warning swimmers not to dip in Lake Shaw, swimmers said the warnings should be in the water. She said the drop went from three feet to eight feet.
“I asked my son, and he said, ‘We didn’t know the water was that deep,'” Shaw said.
Following the tragedy, a spokesperson for the city of Lake Elsinore said it would review safety policies at Launch Pointe after an honest investigation and encourage anyone who witnessed the accident to file a report.
The Clark family is now planning his funeral, and Shaw said the boy’s father is overwhelmed by the loss of his eldest son who loved sports and was wise beyond his years.
“Donte was his life,” Shaw said. “Donte changed my nephew…I made him grow up to be a man. He changed everything for that little boy.”
Lake Elsinore offers life jackets free of charge to anyone who needs them.