Local mom whose son drowned warns of the dangers of cold water swimming

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TACOMA -- This Memorial Day Weekend, officials warn people to stay safe around the water after three people drowned in King County in a few days.

Last week, three people drowned in three separate incidents in King County.

It's a tragedy that Janice O’Neil knows unfortunately too well.

“He only yelled help once and he was gone,” said O’Neil.

Six years ago, O’Neil’s youngest son, Rashawn Hale Moody of Tacoma, had just graduated high school. His entire future was ahead of him.

But he would not get to see it.

“I told him to be safe. No one knew that would be the last time I saw him,” said O’Neil.

On July 4th 2014, her son went out with some friends, but never came back. He drowned while swimming in Alder Lake, said O’Neil.

No matter how many years ago by, no matter how hard it is to relive the pain of his loss, O’Neil says she will continue to tell this story.

“I don’t want any parent to have to live the life I live without a child,” said O’Neil.

Officials say this story is one that happens year after year.

“When you jump in the water and realize how cold it is, and then hypothermia can hit you, you can be in shock. From there it’s bad if you don’t have a life jacket on,” said Sergeant Ryan Abbott with the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Abbott says simple steps can keep you and your family safe this Memorial Day Weekend. He says always where a life jacket, and don’t take any chances.

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