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Charleston Teen Drowning Victim Remembered By Family, Friends

Reported: May. 20, 2014 10:22 PM EDT
Updated: May. 21, 2014 9:13 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) -- Family and friends are remembering a Charleston teenager who drowned Sunday at a Jackson County church camp.

Shawn Jones Jr. was a seventh-grader at Stonewall Jackson Middle School, where a vigil was held Tuesday night. Jones was just 15 years old. His family has only lived in Charleston since November, but it's clear that in that short time, Jones made quite an impression and will be deeply missed by many.

Hundreds of students were sharing hugs and tears in mourning the loss of a classmate and friend at Stonewall Jackson Middle School Tuesday night. His family was shaken up.

"Our family's not complete anymore," said Yamilet McCrimmon, the boy's stepmother.

Helping lend comfort, Shawn's parents said they are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

"It means the world to the whole family. We've had people come out from everywhere, offering support and anything they could do," McCrimmon said.

The toughest part of all this for the teen's parents has been explaining what happened to Shawn to their other children.

"Whenever they go to sleep, they go outside and they look up to the sky at the brightest star. They'll just start talking to him. That's how they sleep at night now," said Shawn's father, Shawn Jones, Sr.

Shawn and his 14-year-old brother Shamane were very close. They did just about everything together. For Shamane, it's painful to imagine his life without Shawn in it.

"Just not to see him here messes me up because he always used to have all the energy. He had energy like a dog running for a bone. And not to see him walking or moving, just seeing pictures around, it makes me happy, but sad at the same time," Shamane Chapman said.

Many at the candlelight vigil wore blue and red -- Shawn's favorite colors that he donned in a recent Facebook post -- and Superman shirts.

Jacob Griffith had nearly every class with Shawn and said they became fast friends.

"He was my real friend, so it's really hard to let him go," Griffith said.

Everyone at the vigil knows that while Shawn Jones, Jr. won't be walking the halls of Stonewall Jackson Middle School anymore, making jokes and sharing smiles, his memory won't soon fade.

"Team Shawn all the way. Fly high baby boy," McCrimmon said.

Shawn Jones, Jr.'s mother and many other family members live in New Jersey and that is where his funeral services will be held, but his parents and siblings here said they are extremely grateful for all the support from the Charleston community.



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