Neighbors and Searchers Honor Thy Nguyen with Makeshift Memorial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/19/07

Neighbors and Searchers Honor Thy Nguyen with Makeshift Memorial

Today people stopped by the pond, some dropping off stuffed animals, some just wanting to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial. Today people stopped by the pond, some dropping off stuffed animals, some just wanting to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial.

A community is mourning the loss of a 13-year-old autistic boy found dead after officials and volunteers searched almost 24 hours for him. Divers found 13-year-old Thy Nguyen's body yesterday in a drainage pond not far from his Whitemarsh Island home.

Byron Lee lives right across the street from the pond. He, along with nearly a hundred other volunteers, helped comb the Whitemarsh Island neighborhood. Even today it's hard to believe what's happened.

"It was horrible, it gives me chills just thinking about it," said Lee.

Today people stopped by the pond, some dropping off stuffed animals, some just wanting to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial.

"It's a horrible situation for anyone to go through and my condolences go out to the family," said Lee.

Just yesterday, police were in this murky, debris-filled pond frantically searching for Nguyen.

Reginald Mitchell stood across the street in his front door entrance trying to catch a glimpse of the search.

"With everything going on you could not easily avoid the activity," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said every time he steps onto his front yard he will be reminded of the search that ended in this pond. He'll also remember how the whole community came together to help find Nguyen.

"Whenever you have a situation where a child is involved, it gets very sensitive and this is a very child-oriented community," said Mitchell.

The flowers, candles and stuffed animals are near the pond to honor and remember Nguyen, but they will also serve as a warning for community members.

"I hope that if people in the community see a child in a place where they don't belong, they take a proactive approach and not a passive approach," said Mitchell.

Police said Nguyen drowned, but the GBI will conduct an autopsy to find out how he died. They don't suspect foul play.

Reported by:  David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com

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