Reporting Michael Rosenfield
MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) — 20-year-old Daron Graham is being mourned by family members after he drowned in the Merrimack River.
His heartbroken sister says Daron was in the water with friends but did not know how to swim.
“I can’t bring him back,” said Iyodele Graham, Daron’s sister. “I can’t save him, I can’t protect him from this.”
Daron is one of three men who drowned over the weekend in New Hampshire.
59-year-old Gary LaCroix was fishing along the Merrimack when he made a fateful decision.
“He saw a bag of ice floating out in the water,” said long-time friend Dan Douillette. “He cares about the environment, he went to go get the bag of ice and walked out about to his neck and the current just took him, he lost his footing.”
In an email to WBZ-TV, LaCroix’s daughter Heather wrote:
“My dad loved the Merrimack River. That was his life. He knew that river more than anyone…and I know his spirit will visit there often.”
18-year-old Sheldon Jean-Laurent of Mattapan, Mass., also drowned over the holiday weekend. The drowning happened at Country Pond in Newton, NH.
In light of the tragic drownings, New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol has issued a swift water warning.
Rainfall in June has been almost double than normal and July got off to a rainy start.
“With the rain, the rivers have increased in water depth, current, we have debris in the river some of which you can’t see because it’s under the water,” said Sgt. Crystal McLain. “With these swift-moving currents we do have a lot of debris that’s floating just under the current and can cause vessels to overturns, swimmers can get stuck in it.
Loved ones who lost so much in seconds are reminding people to be safe and smart.
“Stay at the pool where lifeguards can help you, stay where you know there are good swimmers that’s going to save you, my little brother died by himself,” said Daron’s sister.
In honor of Daron, friends are organizing a basketball game on Friday at West Street Park in Concord at 1 p.m.
“We used to call him Daron James, kind of like LeBron James,” said friend and event organizer Brandon Salvas. “He could make any shot.”