THIRD LAKE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -
Nine longtime friends were enjoying a warm summer day swimming off a pontoon boat on Third Lake on Monday when one of them began having problems and went under water.
Friends called 911 from a cellphone, but Grayslake 16-year-old Matt Reed never made it out of the water. Dive teams recovered his body about 8:15 p.m., more than four hours after the 911 call, the News-Sun is reporting.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family and we are working together to support the Reed family, students and staff,” according to a statement from Grayslake Central High School, where Reed would have been a junior this fall.
About 300 of his friends and classmates gathered Tuesday at the high school’s football field to relase green and white balloons in his honor.
“He was a teammate and one of my great friends,” said Reed’s friend and former golf teammate Daniel Choi, 19. “He was a good kid to have on this campus.”
He competed on several athletic teams at the high school, including golf, basketball and lacrosse.
Sophomore basketball coach Brian Moe described him as “a funny, outgoing, caring kid who always had a smile on his face. He cared about other students and doing well in his academic work. He was extremely hard-working and gave great effort to all of his endeavors. Matt was a great friend and had a positive impact on all of the students and staff that worked with him.”
The high school’s crisis team met Tuesday and has made counselors, teachers and administrators available to support students.
Grayslake Fire Chief John Christian said the group was swimming about 100 yards from shore near the middle of the lake in about 40 feet of water.
“He became distressed and did not resurface,” Christian said.
Reed’s family did not wish to comment.
Dive teams and rescue boats came from Grayslake, Fox Lake, Antioch, Lake Villa, Wauconda, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire and Gurnee; along with divers from Libertyville, Mundelein and Countryside assisted in the search. Sonar equipment was used to find the teen.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office said Reed’s death was due to drowning, said Chief Deputy Orlando Portillo.
Sgt. Sara Balmes of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation found drugs or alcohol were not involved.