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Police: 3 drowned boys went to river to cool off

Monday - 7/9/2012, 3:28pm  ET

FEDERALSBURG, Md. - Three boys who drowned in a shallow creek on Maryland's Eastern Shore apparently had gotten into the water to cool off after a basketball game on a hot day, authorities said Monday.

The bodies of Vladimir Petron Jacotin, 12, his cousin Christopher Toto Gabriel, 11, and Yamoude Dona, 6, were pulled from Marshyhope Creek on Sunday.

The boys, members of a small Haitian community in the area, were last seen playing basketball in a church parking lot next to the creek on Saturday evening.

"Everything right now is just pointing towards a tragic swimming accident," said Capt. Jerry Kirkwood of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. "... All indications are that they decided to go to the river to cool off."

None of the boys could swim, said the Rev. Thomas Willeme, pastor of a Federalsburg church attended by Jacotin's family.

"He's afraid of the water," said Jacotin's stepmother, Yranie Desrosiers.

Desrosiers said she last saw her stepson on Saturday afternoon, when she dropped him off at her father's house before she went to work at a local nursing home. Desrosiers said she didn't know how or why Vladimir and the other boys wound up at the church.

"I never allowed him to go anywhere else without a grown-up. ... He didn't tell my dad that he was going somewhere," she said.

Desrosiers said she didn't know anything was amiss until after she returned home from work Saturday evening and her father told her that Vladimir was missing.

"It's just like ... it's a great loss. I don't really know what to say," she said.

Willeme said Monday that one of the biggest concerns now for the families is how to pay for the boys' funerals, which Desrosiers said likely would be held Sunday in Seaford, Del.

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