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Online fundraiser set up for young drowning victim

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of a 12-year-old boy who died in a Tacoma hospital after he was found floating in the water at a Poulsbo lake dock last week.

On July 14, Jeffrey L. “JJ” Hentz was found unresponsive in the water at Island Lake Park dock and died July 16, according to Marce Edwards, spokesperson for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Hentz was transported to Bremerton’s Harrison Medical Center and placed on a respirator. Within an hour he was taken to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.

Jaime Wainwright, Hentz’s cousin, set up at fundraiser on YouCaring.com to help raise $5,000 to cover financial cost for his grandmother and sister.

According to the website, Hentz struggled with Aspergers, a form of Autism, among other sensory and health issues. He loved art, music, dancing and playing the guitar, along with playing chess, gardening and fishing with his grandfather.

He and his sister, Angel, were raised by his grandmother, Cindy Hentz, according to Wainwright.

“The loss of JJ has not only taken a heartbreaking toll on his mother and sister, but a financial one as well,” Wainwright wrote on the website. “With the sudden and unexpected death of her child, his mom now at a loss for the funds to give JJ a burial.”

Hentz attended Orchard Heights Elementary School and was going into the seventh grade at Marcus Whitman Junior High, said Amy Miller, South Kitsap School District communications director.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeffrey’s friends and family during this difficult time,” Miller said.

According to the Central Kitsap Reporter, Hentz was visiting the park with his grandfather, Richard Boggess, when he decided to join others in the water near the fishing pier.

The boy couldn’t swim.

A child called in to 911 at 3:07 p.m. to report a possible drowning when Hentz was found partially submerged in the water near the fishing dock, facedown in the weeds. Several bystanders assisted with CPR on the boy after he was pulled out of the water. A registered nurse on site took part in assisting with rescue breathing as another did chest compressions, the newspaper reported.

Medics arrived at Island Lake Park at 3:13 p.m. and started treating the victim one minute later. Kitsap County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived at 3:15 p.m.

Deputy Scott Wilson, KCSO spokesman, said Hentz was pulled from the water and CPR performed by a bystander continued until Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue medics arrived. Medics reported the boy was in full cardiac arrest upon arrival.

A swimmer had overheard Boggess and Hentz talking about how the boy could not swim and needed to be aware of the water depth. According to the KCSO documents, Dori Leckner of Kitsap County Parks Department told authorities that the bottom “dramatically drops off below the fishing dock.”

In the past, the department had posted “No Swimming” signs at the dock, but the signs usually get damaged or go missing, a KCSO report states.

Edwards did not have additional information on time or manner of death.

Hentz was the second South Kitsap student to drown this month.

A 17-year-old South Kitsap High School student is presumed dead after falling into the Ohanapecosh River on July 4 near the the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Josh Osborn, who played on the school’s football team last year as a sophomore, is the subject of search-and-rescue operation

Central Kitsap Reporter staff writer Seraine Page contributed to the story.

 

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