HUDSON, Wis. - A 19-year-old male from St. Paul drowned in the St. Croix River on Tuesday, according to Hudson Police.
The victim's identity was confirmed by his attorney as Jeffrey Arkis Taylor, a man whose name was connected to a triple homicide carried out by his older half-brother. Jeffrey Jemaile Taylor fatally shot himself in early April after killing the 19-year-old mother of his child, her 17-year-old sister and the young women’s father. Before killing himself, Jeffrey Jamaile Taylor handed his half-brother his little girl. Authorities considered charging Jeffery Arkis Taylor as an accessory but ultimately decided against it.
The drowning is the family's second loss of a son in just two months.
"Jeffrey was a very kind, caring young man. He had many dreams and aspirations," attorney Karlowba R. Adams Powell told KARE 11 in a statement. "His family is devastated as they try to understand what happened here."
Regarding Arkis Taylor's connection to the fatal shooting, Adams Powell insisted that "Jeffrey was innocent. He was not involved at all. He feared for his life and hers (his niece). He was knocking on the doors for help. Jeffrey was absolutely protecting her. He wanted to make sure she was safe."
On Tuesday, rescue units responded to the end of the beach area on Dike Road at about 4:57 p.m. after a group of young adults tried to swim to one of the nearby islands.
Jensen said when they were on their way back, Jeffrey Arkis Taylor started having trouble swimming. An 18-year-old male from Maplewood tried to help him and started having problems swimming as well.
The 18-year-old was brought to shore and bystanders administered CPR. He was transported to the hospital and Jensen said he spoke with him later in the evening and he seemed to be doing well.
Arkis Taylor did not resurface. Search crews were able to locate his body using sonar, and they recovered him and brought him to Hudson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The St. Croix County EMS dive team, St. Croix County Sheriff's Office, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin DNR, Lower St. Croix Valley Rescue, Stillwater Fire and Bayport Fire all assisted in the search.
Jensen estimated the victim was in the water for about an hour. The incident is under investigation.
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