The identity of a 15-year-old boy who drowned Sunday in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway near the Socastee swing bridge was released this morning by the Horry County Coroner's office.
A preliminary autopsy showed that Kevin Samir Duarte, who lived on Forestbrook Road in the Myrtle Beach section of Horry County, died of asphyxiation by drowning, said Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick.
Friends of the Socastee High School student said Monday that the teen was known in school as a jokester.
“He was so funny. He was the class clown. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I can’t picture him gone,” said Jennifer Federovitch, who met Duarte in sixth grade. “We’re going to miss him really really badly.”
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Federovitch said she and Heather Hollister would meet Duarte after school at Taco Bell before he went to soccer and track practices during the school year.
“He was always fun to be around. He was always cracking jokes. He was really smart,” said Hollister, who also met Duarte in sixth grade. “We’re going to miss him a lot. Life is not going to be the same without him . . . going to school and not seeing his face it won’t be the same.”
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. Sunday that someone had jumped or dived from the bridge into the waterway and didn't resurface, said Lt. Robert McCullough with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The incident is considered a swimming accident.
Horry County emergency crews and those from the Horry County Fire Department assisted in the search.