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Youngster drowns in hotel pool

A 14-year-old Illinois boy on a church trip died of an apparentdrowning in a Brookhaven hotel swimming pool Wednesday afternoon,said Lincoln County Coroner-Medical Examiner Morris Henderson.

Reginald Rogers, of Saint Anne, Ill., just outside Chicago, hadbeen playing in the Best Inn and Suites pool with several otherchurch trip participants when he was discovered missing, Hendersonsaid. Rogers was found and recovered from the deep end of the poolaround 4:35 p.m.

According to the Brookhaven Police Department report, JessieWalker, also of Saint Anne, Ill., and hotel employee Janet Sandersattempted CPR until emergency personnel arrived. Efforts to revivethe youth were unsuccessful, and Rogers was pronounced dead at 5:55p.m. at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

“They did all they could do to try to save him,” Hendersonsaid.

Henderson said he was listing the cause of death as drowning;however, an autopsy was to be performed today in Jackson to confirmthat. The boy’s body was taken to Mississippi Mortuary in Jacksonto await the autopsy.

The Illinois group was on a trip to a Meadville church and wasstaying in Brookhaven. The Franklin County church’s pastor isrelated to members of the group, Henderson said.

According to the police report, the group had been playing inthe shallow end of the pool when one of the chaperones begancalling some of the smaller children in around 4:05 p.m. to getthem ready for evening church services.

Around 4:35 p.m., Kenneth Hagans, 18, of Amityville, N.Y., saidhe bumped something when he dove into the deep end of the pool, thepolice report stated. After discovering the body, he got help fromLarry Jones, 19, of Caruthers Billie, Mo., and the two pulledRogers from the pool.

Hotel guest Billy Boyington, of Smith County, said he was in hisroom when he heard the ambulance arrive. He said he had passed bythe swimming pool earlier, saw the group playing and did not noticeanything unusual.

“They were cutting up, just kids having fun,” Boyingtonsaid.