ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla .– A Royal Palm Beach college student found dead in a holding pond on Christmas night may have suffered a medical episode before entering the water and drowning was not a factor, said the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night.
Vensly Maxime, 14, of Royal Palm Beach, was founded deceased just before 5 p.m. Saturday near the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center at the intersection of Sparrow Drive and Sweet Bay Lane. Palm Beach County School District police tweeted that they were last seen there Wednesday afternoon.
He was in eighth grade at nearby Crestwood Middle School.
In a Monday night PBSO update, detectives learned that Vensly and a friend met after school.
The friend then reported that Vensly started to feel unwell, so the friend said they started walking home.
For unknown reasons, PBSO said, Vensly began to act in unusual ways. The friend continued home and Vensly stayed in the recreation center area.
Working with the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office, the PBSO said there was no sign of trauma or injury to the deceased.
Anyone who may have additional information is asked to contact Detective J. Gomez at 561-688-4052 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
As they stood in front of the growing memorial outside Crestwood Middle School on Monday, Maxime’s family struggled with many emotions.
“I’m not doing well. I’ll probably never be well because someone killed my little cousin,” Dian Eliance said.
Eliance said the family believe someone is responsible for Maxime’s death.
“We all want to know who did it. We all want to know why,” Eliance said.
Family members are also upset by what they said was a lack of response to their first reports of Maxime’s disappearance. Family members said they were largely on their own to search for the teenager, until they found him on Christmas Day in shallow water.
“We are not getting complete information. We are looking for information and guess what? We find the body, we have to come on Christmas day we find our own body near the recreation center and the lake we find it my husband, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, they find it and it’s not good, “said Eliance.
PBSO said they were part of the investigation with the school police and that as of Thursday PBSO had up to six uniformed staff and a school detective searching for drones, to a helicopter and a search and rescue dog.
On Sunday evening, the sheriff’s office chaplain, bereavement counselors and school board members were on hand to comfort the family when the body was found on Sunday.
“Today I worked with the family on Christmas Day to hope that we would reunite with our student,” said Marcia Andrews, District 6 board member. “We learned this afternoon that he was found in the canal and passed away. We pray for the family and pray for our student who is in Heaven now. It was just a bad situation, and the family is devastated.
She added: “We are here at school, at the canal, to get her body back and so much sadness over Christmas. We have sympathy for the family and for all of the students in the school here in Crestwood. We will do. our best to get through that.
Andrews said after school returns next week, grief counselors will be at the school.