Remembering Rashad Ling

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's all friends and family of Rashad Ling can do to hold it together.

They pray, cry and lean on each other for strength. The only thing keeping them going is remembering the friend they all called "tadpole."

"He was an all-star," said friend Marvin Smith. "Everybody knew tadpole was good at sports, everybody knew he was going to college."

Ling's dreams of college were cut short after a tragic event out on Tybee Island.

Smith was out there and explains what happened that day. The story so painful, it brings Ling's mom to tears.

The 15-year-old all-star, who couldn't swim, waded through the ocean to a sand bar.

"We were all out there on the sand dune and we were coming back across, then the tide started coming in. The tide came in fast, "explained Smith.

Before Smith or anyone else knew it, Ling was gone. "We were underwater. He grabbed me, we went under. He told me don't let him go," said Smith as he fought back tears.

The ocean's force was just too strong. Smith couldn't pull him out.  "We were under water together for like three minutes and he finally let go and then we, he let me go. I came back up. I almost couldn't make it."

None of the teens that day had any idea the danger they were walking into. See Tybee officials warn about dangerous tide conditions.

What was supposed to be a day on the beach with friends, turned into a nightmare. See Body of missing teen found.

Now everyone is left in mourning.

"Every time I did something wrong he always helped me. He told me everything, we talked about everything. He was like my little brother more than my friend. I am going to miss him," said Smith.

Miss the friend that had dreams of going to division one school, the friend they say would one day be the star of the Groves High School football team, the friend that used to stand out here on the corner with them. That young man is now gone.

The family is trying to raise money for funeral costs. They have set up a fund at the Bank of America in Ling's name.

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