By Julie Montanaro
July 2, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Two young men drowned at Church Sink ... within weeks of each other.
The property owner has put up no trespassing signs and deputies are warning swimmers to stay away.
Orange and black no trespassing signs are tacked to the trees on paths leading into the woods and down the steep trail to Church Sink.
Deputies are stepping up patrols and the property owner, former Leon County Commissioner Lee Vause, has filed paperwork with the sheriff's department authorizing them to arrest folks who ignore the warnings.
"Deputy sheriffs can now come down, come here, if we find anybody here, they're going to be issued a trespassing warning. If they come back, they could be subject to arrest," said LCSO Spokesman Tony Drzewiecki.
The warnings come on the heels of two drownings in less than a month. 24 year old Dominique Hollis drowned here in May and his 19 year old cousin Donaje Brown drowned in June.
Divers with the Wakulla Dive Club helped to recover one of the bodies.
This weekend, they intend to submerge again to pull up trash.
"There's everything from bicycles to vacuum cleaners to rolls of carpet that's been thrown in the sink," said Wakulla Dive Club Safety Officer Steve Cushman.
They say the sink is filled with logs and other debris that could take swimmers by surprise when they jump in.
"If somebody jumps off that cliff or comes off that swing and lands on one of those, it could end up being an unconscious person in the water, broken legs," Cushman said, "sometimes you can't see them because of the visibility in the water, but some of them are less than two feet below the surface."
Cushman says the club routinely cleans sink holes where they dive ... and this clean up was planned months before anyone drowned in Church Sink.
Vause says he was at the sinkhole two days ago and there were half a dozen kids swimming there despite the no trespassing signs.
He says he intends to place chains across the pathways leading onto his property.
The clean up is set for 9am to noon on Saturday, July 6th. Volunteers can meet at the corner of Crawfordville Road and Shelfer Road. Volunteers are asked to wear protective clothing and closed toe shoes. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.