- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
What appears to be an accidental fall took the life of a boy who a school principal described as an energetic, always-smiling first-grader.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office reported that at 2:15 p.m. Nov. 3, Jayden Michael Williams, 6, was playing with friends on a concrete structure at a lake near Drake Court in the Lancaster neighborhood in Waldorf when he fell in the water. The boy’s friends ran for help, the report states. Sheriff’s officers and volunteer firefighters and paramedics arrived and searched the water, police said.
Chris Garrett, deputy chief of the Charles County Dive Team, said it took less than 15 minutes from the time he got to the scene to search for and retrieve Williams from the water.
Garrett said the water where the little boy was found was about 5½ feet deep. Garrett and other volunteers, including members of the Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department and other emergency personnel, assisted with the call.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said it was a sad outcome despite the valiant efforts of all the emergency personnel involved.
Williams was transported to the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata but died a short time later.
“It really hits the community hard,” Richardson said.
The child was a first-grader at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School in Waldorf.
Principal Troy Barnes said Williams and his family were new to Barnhart, having recently moved to the area from another state.
Williams and one of his two siblings started at Barnhart at the beginning of the school year.
Barnes said Williams “always had a smile on his face,” and added that he was “an energetic and intelligent young man.”
A letter sent home to Barnhart parents Monday from Barnes explained the incident and encouraged parents to make time for their children to talk about Williams.
School staff made an announcement Monday morning regarding the drowning and made classroom visits to talk with students most affected.
Extra staff were on hand including school psychologists to talk with students and staff.
The letter encouraged parents to contact the school if they felt their child would need further grief counseling.
Barnes said he spoke to Williams’ family Monday offering condolences on behalf of the school community.
Richardson said the investigation is continuing, and at this time the incident appears to be accidental.
In the letter sent to parents, Barnes wrote, “This is a heartbreaking time for the Williams family and our school community.”