Family identifies man who drowned in Lake Erie, thanks first responders

Divers, boaters searched for Jyventa Harris out in Lake Erie. (Source: WOIO)
Divers, boaters searched for Jyventa Harris out in Lake Erie. (Source: WOIO)

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - A Maple Heights family is grieving over the loss of their son, Jyventa Harris. He drowned Sunday morning while rafting out on the lake with his stepbrother.

Crews recovered the 21-year-old's body near a private beach in Avon Lake. His mother wants to thank all of the people who tried to save her son, from neighbors to rescue crews who searched for him for hours.

On Sunday, Harris was floating on a blow-up raft in Lake Erie, as his stepbrother Benny floated in another raft. But strong currents pushed the men off of their rafts, and onlookers rushed to the lake to try to help. Harris' mom Nicole watched helplessly from the shoreline with the rest of the family as rescue crews searched for her son.

Neighbors couldn't rescue him, but the victim's mother is thankful rescue crews found him so she could say goodbye.

"Thank you so, so, so much. My family really appreciates you guys for everything that you all did. Something terrible happened, but we are very, very grateful for the people that were there. So, so overwhelming," she said.

Jyventa Harris went to Maple Heights High School. His mom says he loved football and was really adventurous.

He was one of 12 kids between her and her fiance.

"He has a big family, a big family. And we all going to get through it together," she said.

She lost her son in an instant, but she knows his memory will live on.

"You gotta cherish what you got, it could've been both of my kids. It could've been both of them," she said.

She says her son could swim, but unfortunately, rescue crews say he had no life vest with him.

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