Tip Line: 574-344-5557 | news57@abc57.com

Stepbrother of Elkhart drowning victim speaks

ELKHART, Ind. - The stepbrother of the 10-year-old boy who drowned at Elkhart’s Ideal Beach Friday spoke exclusively with ABC 57 hours after his brother’s death. He says he went through an eerily similar situation at the same age.

The boy, Jamal Turpin, was spending the day there with Lifeline Youth Ministries, according to family.

“There’s no words for something like this,” said Turpin’s stepbrother, 20-year-old Quincey Washington.

He said that as a child he spent his summers at camps and youth groups—and—he nearly drowned in a pool when he was the exact same age.

Now, his childhood hangout spot is forever tainted by this tragedy.

“You never know, you just never know what can happen,” said Washington.

“He went swimming with a church group, a youth group called Lifeline that I used to attend, and they went to Ideal Beach,” said Washington.

But his ten-year-old stepbrother, Jamal Turpin, never made it home Friday.

He drowned in Heaton Lake sometime after noon, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

They say he was swimming with a nine-year-old, whom lifeguards were able to save, but it took a human chain to pull Turpin from the water—and it was too late.

“When I was younger, I went swimming. I was with a group through the Tolson Center, and I drowned in Pierre Moran pool. It was like 5 feet, but there’s no worser feeling than not being able to breathe…I just felt like this was the way my life was going to end and no one could save me, but someone wrapped their arms around me and pulled me out of that water. I just wish he had that,” said Washington.

He says all he can do now is stay strong for his family and remember his one-of-a-kind brother.

“He’s just priceless. Priceless sense of humor, priceless personality, like that’s just the word that describes him when you think about him, and everybody that knows him can agree with that. He just lights up a room,” said Washington.

Lifeline Youth Ministries posted this statement on Facebook earlier today:

“Lifeline is greatly saddened by the loss of a young life today at Ideal Beach. We are in constant prayer for the family and ask you to join us in lifting them up at this time of great need.”

The DNR says the nine-year-old that lifeguards were able to save is expected to fully recover.

10-year-old Turpin’s autopsy is scheduled for Saturday morning in Kalamazoo.

Share this article: