Coroner identifies teen who drowned in Lake Murray - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Coroner identifies teen who drowned in Lake Murray

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Authorities have released the identity of the teenager who drowned in Lake Murray Sunday afternoon.

Saluda County Coroner B. Keith Turner says 17-year-old Millard Waeland Peeples died after jumping off of a boat near the public boat landing on Riverbend Point in Saluda.

Turner says Peeples' parents are both in the armed services and are on their way home from Afghanistan.

A spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the incident happened when four teenagers on a pontoon boat were returning to the landing around 4:45 p.m. Peeples and another teen decided to jump off the boat and swim to shore, according Lt. Robert McCullough.

The two boys swam a short distance before running into some type of trouble, McCullough said.

A woman on another boat tied to the dock heard the two boys crying for help and threw a life jacket to them. One of the boys caught the jacket, but was unable to help Peeples.

Newberry County Emergency Services Assistant Chief Glenn L. Hamm, II says officers from the Saluda County Sheriff's Department and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources responded to the location. After interviewing witnesses, they requested the assistance of dive teams from Newberry and Union counties.

Rescue divers were in the water for less than 15 minutes before recovering the Peeples' body, Hamm said.

McCollough said it is unclear what prompted the boys to start struggling in the water.

The incident remains under investigation by the Saluda County Sheriff's Department, Saluda County Coroner's Office and DNR.

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