A high school senior from Harlem drowned during a pool party with his classmates at a sprawling New Jersey estate over the weekend.
Darnell Mickens, 17, was found in the deep end of an indoor pool in the multi million-dollar West Milford, N.J., home, where he and dozens of other students from Upper Manhattan’s High School of Graphic Communications Arts went to celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday, according to the Daily News. Several people called 911 to report a drowned teenager, but EMTs could not revive him.
It wasn’t immediately clear how he drowned.
Mickens’ family accused the parents who hosted the party of failing to supervise the kids. Police told NorthJersey.com that it wasn’t known if lifeguards were present or if anyone was monitoring the swimmers.
The owner of the home, Hector Rojas, told authorities the party was held for the daughter of one of his business associates, according to NorthJersey.com. The website reported Rojas could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Sources familiar with the case told the News no alcohol was found near the swimming pool and no criminal charges have been filed.
Mickens hoped to enlist in the Navy after graduating from his W. 49th Street school. He had two younger sisters, and his family describes him as a carefree, intelligent boy who brightened the day of anyone he encountered.
“He was free-spirited, he was happy,” Damien Mickens told the News about his only son. “He wasn’t your everyday 17-year-old.”
Mickens’ aunt said that no one ever had a bad thing to say about him and that “he was like an angel on earth.”
Mickens’ funeral is scheduled for Friday. He will be buried at the St. Raymond Cemetery in the Bronx.