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18-year-old dead from apparent drowning in pond in Denham Springs, LPSO says

A young man swimming with friends is dead from an apparent drowning on Wednesday, May 11, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - A young man swimming with friends is dead from an apparent drowning on Wednesday, May 11, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The victim has been identified by LPSO as Rodrick Thompson Jr., 18, of Denham Springs. He graduated from Walker High in 2021, his family said. His mother called him her “gentle giant.”

“I didn’t know it was my baby until I asked where my baby was, and he just said he was called out to the scene of a drowning, and that’s when I knew it was my baby,” Dekeshia Jones-Rivers, Thompson’s mother said.

Deputies said it happened in a gravel pit/pond located off Sims Road in Denham Springs around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I’m not going to say that he was the perfect swimmer, but he knew how to swim. It’s just something that I wouldn’t imagine would happen, but you can’t question God,” Rivers said.

“It was learned that several friends were there to swim,” said Sheriff Jason Ard. “While swimming, one male began to struggle. We know several friends tried to assist. But he went underwater and didn’t resurface.”

Sheriff Ard said several friends tried to help, but Thompson went underwater and didn’t resurface.

“You have to be really careful when it comes to water. It doesn’t matter how much it is. Either way, you have to be careful. This was a freak accident,” Rivers said.

Ard added Thompson’s body was recovered around 11 p.m. by the LPSO Dive Team and there were no signs of foul play.

The investigation is ongoing.

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