Mother says teen who drowned couldn't swim

Kevin Samir Duarte (Source: Facebook)
Kevin Samir Duarte (Source: Facebook)

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – On Monday, the mother of a 15-year-old boy who drowned near the Socastee swing bridge said he was not supposed to be in the Intracoastal Waterway because he could not swim.

Leyra Farinas's son Kevin Samir Duarte drowned in the waterway Sunday afternoon after going to the area near the bridge with friends after church. Farinas said at first she did not give her son permission to go with his friends, but he assured her he would not get in the water.

"He said, Mommy I [would] never go swim. I only go for looking," Farinas said. "Now you see he's gone.  I don't know why.  I'm asking why.  It's my fault because I didn't give him permission [until Sunday] - he never went, never.  It's my fault."

Farinas said her son was an avid soccer player and he loved to play football and run track. He was also a good student at Socastee High School she said, and he was looking forward to going to college in a few years.

"He was really funny and he always made people laugh," Duarte's brother, Ricardo Farinas said. "He was a really good brother. I miss him."

Investigators are trying to figure out exactly how Duarte drowned. Originally officers with the Department of Natural Resources thought he jumped from the swing bridge, but on Monday they said that was not what happened.

Duarte's friends told his brother what they saw.

"He wanted to see how deep it was, from what I heard," he said. "And he went to the deepest part and he started struggling. One of his friends tried to get him out, but he couldn't."

The Intracoastal Waterway near the bridge is a popular spot for kids to cool off and 17-year-old Jacqui Blanton said she often goes to the area to play in the water. She said she never thought such a tragedy would happen.

"It's just crazy that something like that could happen to someone," Blanton said. "No one thinks about it. It's like everything's okay. Nothing's ever happened before."

There will be a viewing and visitation for Duarte's family on Tuesday from 4 until 9 p.m. at the Myrtle Beach Crematory in Myrtle Beach. The funeral will be Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Beach Church on George Bishop Parkway. The burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Conway.

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