Durham News

June 19, 2014

Goldsboro school officials describe Durham drowning victim as ‘a sweet boy’

Investigators have not yet said how it happened, but a birthday party for another child at the pool turned tragic after someone found Jamarcus Graham face down in a community pool at the Brightleaf subdivision just before 3 p.m. Saturday.

Six-year-old Jamarcus Graham of Goldsboro visited Durham on Saturday with his mother and attended a pool party to celebrate another child’s birthday.

Somehow the party turned tragic after someone found Jamarcus face down in a community pool at the Brightleaf subdivision just before 3 p.m.

“Someone jumped in the pool and brought the boy up. He’s not breathing,” a 911 caller told an emergency dispatcher. “There’s a nurse and paramedic with him.”

The caller, in a 911 recording made public Monday by the Durham emergency communications center, told the dispatcher she was not sure what had happened but that there was no evidence of blood to suggest Jamarcus had been injured in the pool.

Medical workers at Duke University Medical Center pronounced Jamarcus dead on Sunday morning, police said. Investigators have not yet said what led to the drowning.

Jamarcus was a rising second-grader at Brogden Primary School in Dudley. Wayne County Public Schools adjourned for the summer break on Tuesday, and Jamarcus’ day at the pool came on his first summer weekend.

“He hadn’t quite turned 7,” Wayne schools spokesman Ken Derksen said Monday. “He was a very sweet child, from what I understand.”

Brogden school Principal Youlonda Wynn, said Jamarcus would have celebrated his seventh birthday in August, after the summer break.

Wynn said the boy’s mother drove him and his older sisters to school each morning.

“I knew him very well. I greeted him each morning,” Wynn said. “He had a bright smile and a great attitude.”

Wynn said Jamarcus would trail into the school doors each morning with his sisters, a rising third-grader and rising fifth-grader.

“They have a very involved mother,” she said.

Wynn said if grief counseling is necessary when the children return in fall, counselors will be provided.

The principal, Jamarcus’ homeroom teacher, a teaching assistant and school guidance counselors visited the family on Monday after hearing that he had died.

“She’s holding up about as well as can be expected,” Wynn said about his mother.

The 911 caller, who was not identified, told the dispatcher that a nurse and paramedic were taking turns trying to revive the unconscious child for a little more than four minutes until emergency medical technicians arrived at the pool in the 2000 block of Copper Leaf Parkway, just off U.S. Business 70 in Durham.

Jamarcus’ mother was among the adults present at the pool. The dispatcher asked the 911 caller to make sure someone stayed with her to keep her calm while the nurse and paramedic worked to revive her son.

News researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.

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