ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Royal Palm Beach middle school student found dead in a retention pond Christmas night may have suffered a medical episode before entering the water and drowning wasn't a factor, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Monday night.
Vensly Maxime, 14, of Royal Palm Beach, was founded deceased just before 5 p.m. Saturday near the Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center at the intersection of Sparrow Drive and Sweet Bay Lane. Palm Beach County School District police posted on Twitter he was last seen there Wednesday afternoon.
He was in the eighth grade at nearby Crestwood Middle School.
In an update from PBSO on Monday night, detectives learned that Vensly and a friend met up after school.
The friend then reported that Vensly started to not feel well, so the friend said they started walking home.
For unknown reasons, PBSO said, Vensly began to act in an unusual manner. The friend continued home and Vensly remained behind in the area of the Recreation Center.
In conjunction with Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office, PBSO said there were no signs of trauma or injury to the decedent.
Anyone that may have additional information is urged to contact Detective J. Gomez at 561-688-4052 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
As they stood at the memorial growing in front of Crestwood Middle School on Monday, Maxime’s family struggled with many emotions.
"I'm not OK. I probably will never be OK because somebody killed my little cousin," Dian Eliance said.
Eliance said the family believes someone is responsible for Maxime’s death.
"We all want to know who did it. We all want to know why," Eliance said.
Family members are also upset over what they said has been a lack of response to their first reports of Maxime’s disappearance . Family members said they were largely out on their own to look for the teen, until they found him Christmas day in shallow water.
"We don’t get full information. We looking for information and guess what? We find out the body, we have to come on Christmas day we find our own body by the rec center and the lake we find him my husband, my brother in law my sister in law they find him and this is not good," Eliance said.
PBSO said they along with the school police were part of the investigation and PBSO by Thursday had as many as six uniformed personnel and a school detective searching along with drones, a helicopter, and a search and rescue dog.
On Sunday night, the sheriff’s office chaplain, grief counselors and school board members were on scene to comfort the family when the body was found Sunday.
“Today I worked with the family on Christmas day to have hope that we would find our student," District 6 Board Member Marcia Andrews said. "We got the news this afternoon that he had been found in the canal and he had passed away. We are praying for the family and praying for our student who is in heaven now. It was just a bad situation, and the family is devastated.
She added, "We are out here at the school, at the canal, retrieving his body and so much sadness on Christmas. We have sympathy for the family and for all the students at the school here at Crestwood. We will do our best to get through this.”
Andrews said once school returns next week, grief counselors will be at the school.