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Mother: Kerr Lake drowning victim 'wanted to go further in life'

Posted August 1

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— Officials have located the body of a 16-year-old boy who family members say drowned Sunday at Kerr Lake in Vance County.

The Vance County Rescue Squad found the body of Keyon Philippe, a high school junior from Warren County, around 10:45 a.m.

Philippe's family members said he drowned around 6:30 p.m. at Satterwhite Point Lake, an access area at the Kerr Lake State Recreation Area.

"They were at a birthday party cookout and one of the kids pushed a ball into the water," said Philippe's aunt. "Keyon could swim, so he went out to get the ball, but he was pulled in. He went down about four times and came back up, but on the fifth time he did not come back above water."

"I seen my son out there, trying to come back and he couldn't come and he was trying and he was frightened," said Philippe's mother, Wanda Ballance.

Family member Charitel Rogers said others rushed to Philippe as he struggled to stay above water.

"My brother dove for him a total of eight times, but he just couldn't find him," Rogers said.

Philippe had plans for college, hopes for a football scholarship and enjoyed fun with family.

"He had goals. He wanted to be somebody in life. He wanted to go further in life," said Ballance.

For Ballance, the future is now one she never imagined.

"The worst thing as a mother is losing your child," she said.


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  • John White Aug 2, 7:19 a.m.
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    View quoted thread


    This says it does not have tides. unless you actually consider under 2 inches a tide.

  • Ben Hill Aug 2, 12:52 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Lake Michigan has tides as well as a big problem with rip currents contributing to drownings. Not sure how that relates to Kerr lake or if St. Alphonsus factors into your analogy...

  • Janet Ghumri Aug 1, 10:46 p.m.
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    If he had gotten to the ball maybe it could have floated him until help came?
    I see that the article has been updated to remove the 'tides' and the family efforts to save him have been added. Kudos for doing your best, in an awful situation. That ball must have gone farther than we know. So very sad.
    BTW, Clarence Dumb google, it's remarks by the attentive that help to keep the facts straight, and observe inconsistencies. Im not saying that this is an issue here, with this tragic death, but it does happen.

  • Patricia Wigington Aug 1, 7:23 p.m.
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    This is very sad indeed however it is not safe to jump in after a drowning person you're supposed to throw them a life jacket or some type type of flotation device obviously no one there could swim and that is very sad and tragic.

  • Clarence Drumgoole Aug 1, 5:20 p.m.
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    Condolence to the Family! Dumb "remarks" should be kept to ones self! We were not present!

  • Sibylle Lashley Aug 1, 4:10 p.m.
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    Very odd article. No one gets pulled under water in a small lake like Kerr lake. Not even in a huge one.. No tides, period.. Only in the ocean. No sharks either. He probably couldn't swim. And no one else seemed to wanted to go help, just stare.. People go save dogs of they drown, but here? If the article is saying the real story, it's strange. So sorry for that poor kid!

  • Kris Dawn Aug 1, 2:17 p.m.
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    Definitely suspect.

    Also - to the people posting the reactions, WRAL would not let me add "LOL" to a Trump article, but they allow people to add those reactions on an article about a teenager drowning?
    Makes sense.

  • Chase Truman Aug 1, 1:23 p.m.
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    This sounds weird to me. First of all, pushing a ball into the water would not cause it to go far enough to warrant the boy having to swim out to get it. Secondly, as others have stated, there aren't really currents that could pull the boy under. And thirdly, could no one else there swim to be able to go help the boy??? She stated he went under three or four times before staying under... seems to me someone would have gone out to help him if they saw him struggling. And if no one else could swim, why are you having a party by a lake???? This just doesn't add up to me. I'm sorry this happened to this young man.

  • Janet Ghumri Aug 1, 1:20 p.m.
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    The article makes it sound like no one in the group went out to help. Is that correct? Having a party/cookout at a lake with no one being able to swim, not a good idea. Such a sad story. Prayers for the family

  • John Smith Aug 1, 1:14 p.m.
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    Maybe she was referring to the wake... Sad either way.