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Family of Vensly Maxime asks for full investigation into his death

14-year-old found dead in retention pond on Christmas Day
His family was joined by community leaders and local politicians on Friday at a news conference in Royal Palm Beach, where they made an emotional plea for a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death.
Posted at 2:27 PM, Jan 07, 2022

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Community members are once again calling for justice for Vensly Maxime.

Cleonie Hercule, the mother of the 14-year-old, was filled with emotion and tears Friday afternoon.

Hercule spoke in front of the retention pond where her son's body was found on Christmas Day, demanding a full investigation regarding the circumstances that may have led to the teen’s death.

Hercule's brother helped translate.

"We were searching and then me, myself and my brother, she referred to me, I was the one, if you look behind you, that woods, we searched for hours there," Yvenel Clermont said, translating for Hercule. "Then, after we searched, I was the one who myself finding my own kid in the lake."

The 14-year old's body was found on Christmas Day, submerged in the water three days after he was reported missing.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Maxime met with a friend after school Dec. 22.

The friend told investigators that Maxime complained of feeling ill and they became separated during their walk home and Maxime began acting strange.

Maxime press conference

Authorities have said their preliminary investigation shows the teen may have suffered a medical episode before going into the water but did not drown.

The family hasn't been happy with the investigation.

"How come when something happened to other communities and then there's a full search is done?" Clermont asked. "How come nothing was done?"

The sheriff's office told WPTV on Friday the family has been kept updated throughout the investigation.

They're waiting for the medical examiner's office's final toxicology report.

State Sen. Bobby Powell said during a news conference that he will introduce legislation and file amendments in Tallahassee to make sure this type of incident doesn't happen again.

"If a child is missing, or you send your child to school in the morning and they don't come back in the afternoon, that there is forced action," Powell said. "People should not have to wait to find out what has happened to their child."

Meanwhile, Maxime's family members are asking anyone who may have seen something to come forward.

"Whoever is out there, I know you have the capability to help us to further the investigation," Clermont said. "That is all we are asking, all we are asking. Somebody did this and we need to find out who."

Funeral arrangements are being made for the Crestwood Middle School student. It is expected to take place next Saturday.