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Family Of Sinkhole Drowning Victims Demands Warning Signage


By: Mike Springer
June 24, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-A Leon County family wants to see warning signs posted after two of its family members died while swimming at the same sink hole.

Twenty-four-year-old Dominique Hollis and his 19-year-old cousin Donaje Brown died while swimming at a sink hole off of Shelfer and Crawfordville Roads.

Hollis died May 19 while Brown died there this past Saturday.

The family believes if warning signs had been posted, things may have turned out differently.

"I think if it was something saying, 'Danger, No Trespassing,' You know? Drowning already or whatever, maybe it would probably of helped a little bit and I think he would have took a second choice to try to go to another lake or another pool," said Wanda Atkinson, Browm's aunt.

The sink hole is on private property. The owners says he may look at putting up warning signs in the future.


By: Bailey Myers
June 23, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Just one day after a man died swimming in a sinkhole, people are out again enjoying the very water that took his life.

Says Lillian Miller, "I don't want anyone else to go through this."
But less than 24 hours after her grandson's drowning in this sinkhole people are still tempted to cool off.

One swimmer, Jose Garcia said he and his friends "Were just going to come out here and jump off these swings over here."
They don't realize they are jumping into a sinkhole where 19 year old Donaje Brown thought he could come relax and cool off.

As the family later explained Brown was swinging on one of these rope swings you see behind me when he slipped off of it fell in to the water and drowned. His family is haunted by his loss.

Miller said, "And I could hear him in my head, and I know it was probably just my mind but I could hear him saying 'Grandma help me, help me!' And I couldn't do nothing. I couldn't do nothing it hurt so bad."

This is not the first time this sinkhole has taken one of her family.
Just three weeks ago, Brown's cousin 24-year-old Dominique Hollis drowned in this same blue pool.

Miller pleaded with the owners of the property by saying," How many more do we have to loose to this sinkhole for them to close it up for them to put up some signs or something up?"
And without signs. Without warning. People are drawn in by this sinkholes blue green water.


Leon County Sheriff's Office Press Release

The person who drowned yesterday, Saturday, June 22, 2013, has been identified as Donaje Brown,

19 years-old. An autopsy conducted this morning, Sunday, June 23, 2013, has confirmed that Brown’s death was the result of drowning.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that Brown had been swimming in the sinkhole with a small group of friends when he became distressed and drowned.

Brown’s friends attempted to assist him to the surface, however they were unsuccessful.


By: Jason Kahn
June 22, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Lillian Miller is the grandmother of Donaje Brown. He's the second member of his family to die from a sinkhole off Crawfordville Highway in Tallahassee in the past month.

"That's very hard. It's real hard,” Miller said. “I just got him in school and he was an honor roll student and everything. I just got him back on the right track."

Police were called around 10 a.m. Saturday and found the deceased 19-year-old. Brown is the cousin of Dominique Hollis, 24, who died in the sinkhole about three weeks ago.

"I couldn't even imagine the pain that I'm still going through because its been so much on our family,” said Wanda Atkinson, the aunt of the victim. "And I'm just asking for God's strength to take us a little farther."

The family says Brown was swimming with friends, but at one point he went under and didn't come up.

"Something has to be done about this,” Miller says. “There has to be a way where nobody can go down in that sinkhole. And for them to lose another person, something needs to be done about this."

Family members say Brown should've never been around this sinkhole in the first place. And that's why they're pleading for additional safety measures.


Leon County Sheriff's Office Release

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This morning, Saturday June 22, 2013, at 10:10am the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded to a sinkhole located behind 4225 Crawfordville Road in reference to the report of a drowning.

When deputies arrived they were advised by witnesses that a person had entered the sinkhole, became distressed and did not surface.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Dive Team responded to the sinkhole and recovered the body of a deceased male.

Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Unit
responded to the scene to conduct witness interviews and collect evidence from the scene.

The identity of the deceased is not being not released at this time, pending family notification. This investigation is continuing and additional information will be released when available.


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