LAKE SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (WAND) – The family of a young man who drowned at Lake Shelbyville over the weekend are turning the grief of their loss into action.
The family of Johnathan Collins Jr., 26, said the young man drowned while on a camping trip with two friends. The Collins family said it happened while he was swimming at the Lake Shelbyville Beach near the 9th Street docks on Sunday.
“I have to lay my son to rest soon,” Johnathan Collins Sr., the father of Johnathan Jr., said. "I was devastated [when I got the call]”. Right then and there I just broke down."
Collins Sr. said his young son died while swimming with two friends. The grieving father said his youngest son went under as he swam past the buoys of the beach. The 26-year-old leaves behind brothers, sisters, and his parents.
"He always was checking on you to make sure you're okay,” Johnathan Sr., said. “[I will] miss hearing his voice, miss seeing his silly smile, and his loud voice."
Ruth McClellan is Johnathan Junior’s mother. As a Christian woman, she is struggling to understand why God would take her son from her.
"I am a strong believer in God, and it almost made me question why, but we have reasons and seasons,” she said.
It is unclear why Johnathan Jr. went under. His family said he was not wearing a life jacket. They hope their son’s death will encourage others to wear one the next time they are swimming.
"A lot of time you don't know how the currents can be, the temperatures can change, so be conscious of what you're doing and definitely wear a life jacket,” Johnathan Sr. said.
The family said two women tried to save their son but were not successful. WAND News has been told an autopsy is scheduled. Officials have not provided details of the drowning or even confirm it happened until the autopsy is over.