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May 19, 2014

Belize City resident drowns on his birthday

A rescue team is scouring the Belize River Valley looking for the body of a resident of Isabella Bank. On Sunday, what should have been a memorable occasion ended in the drowning of Keron Jeffords. He was celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday with friends when he drowned in the river in the same area where seven year old Chelsie Smith also drowned on August twenty-fifth, 2013. The Jeffords family is distraught at the sad turn of events. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A Belize City family is seeking closure following the drowning of their loved one on Sunday afternoon. Twenty-four year old Keron Michael Jeffords lost his life on his birthday as he socialized with friends in Isabella Bank, in the Belize River Valley.

 

Ilona Jeffords, Mother of Deceased

Ilona Jeffords

“It happened yesterday when I was at home. I can’t say the time, but in the evening; that is when it happened. I just left shocked. They say ih drowned. They say ih come out two times and ih sit down here at the thing here. And the last one weh ih gone ina. The last one dah weh ih drowned. The last jump, weh ih jump that dah weh drowned ahn. Ih mussi catch cramp ina di water, ih seh.”

 

Duane Moody

“What was he doing up here?”

 

Ilona Jeffords

“Well his birthday, so ih had wah get-together—all ah ih friends get together to have wah nice birthday. So they come up to enjoy themselves.”

 

Duane Moody

“He is your youngest son?”

 

Ilona Jeffords

“No he is the oldest son, the oldest one. But I feel it a lot…mien. Because it is on his birthday, he is twenty-four and ih get… it is a real shock…mien.”

 

The river is murky and there is low visibility in the water and since this morning, trained divers attached to the Coast Guard have joined in the search for the body of Keron.

 

Greg Soberanis

Lt. Greg Soberanis, Operations Officer, Belize National Coast Guard

“We deployed members of our dive team to that location as well as members of the B.D.F. boat unit is out there assisting with the coast guard and we are coordinating our efforts with the police who operate in that area. The coast guard is currently conducting the subsurface search for the young man and the B.D.F. boat unit is conducting the surface search. Our efforts will continue; thus far, we have not located him, but by no means we are going to suspend the search. We will continue until his body is recovered.”

 

Ilona Jeffords

“I just want they find the body so that ih get wah proper burial, you know. Because once they get the body, I wah feel better. I wah get the closure.”

 

Keron was the eldest son in the family. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Up to news time, the body had still not been recovered from the river.

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