McKINNEY, Texas - A 16-year-old boy is believed to have drowned Tuesday in a private pond on a McKinney golf course.
Friends and family identified the young teen who drowned as 16-year old Aaron Hill, an incoming junior at McKinney North High School.
The drowning happened at the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club where there several lakes and ponds, as well as homes, along the course. The McKinney Fire Department said rescuers were called to a pond behind a home on Broken Point around 8 p.m.
Several teens said they had been swimming when Aaron began to struggle in the water. He went under and disappeared. Firefighters searched and found his body a short time later.
“I was speechless. There was no expression at all,” said Jamien Hopkins, Aaron’s friend. “I was just looking at my phone, ‘Aaron’s gone.’ Had nothing to say at all.”
Aaron has had the same tight-knit group of friends since about third grade.
“We’ve all been close to where it doesn’t even matter if we’re blood,” Jamien said. “We’re just like brothers, and we’re all connected.”
Friends say hill was a competitive athlete and played basketball and football. He was also an honor student.
“He was like a joyful spirit. He was always smiling,” said friend Jonathan Jones. “If you ever had a bad day and you wanted someone to make you laugh, you’d go to him. He would give you advice. He was smart.”
Managers at the country club didn’t want to go on camera but say they’re not sure if any of the boys were members of the club. There are signs on the property warning that swimming in the ponds is not allowed.
Friends have surrounded the Hill family in support as it is the second death the family has had to endure in just a few years. Friends say Aaron’s mother died of cancer and left his father to raise him and his brother.
“He got stronger after that,” said friend Kenon Anderson. “He didn’t let it affect him too much. He moved on. He didn’t let her legacy go to waste.”
Aaron and his friends were on track to graduate with the class of 2021. But on Wednesday morning, friends gathered at McKinney North instead to mourn his death.
“We had future goals,” Jonathan said. “Graduate high school together. Graduate high school with the same people you started it with. Stuff like that. Growing up and being like together.”
Police say the drowning was a tragic accident. No foul play is suspected, and no charges will be filed.
An online fundraiser for the family has already raised almost $12,000.
Slaughter Elementary is also taking donations to honor Aaron and his mother, who was a teacher there for many years.