PLYMOUTH, Minn. – The 16-year-old boy who drowned in the pool of a Plymouth apartment complex over the weekend was a recent immigrant who moved to Minnesota to be with his father.
Benedict Richardson, 16, drowned at the Plymouth Square at 37th apartment complex pool Friday evening, after swimming with his family.
"He is just lost from me," said Emmette Richardson, Benedict's father.
Emmette said he worked tirelessly to bring his oldest son to Minnesota since he left Liberia back in 2001, by going to school and working two jobs.
Benedict lived in a Liberian refugee camp and then escaped to Guinea and lived with relatives. The heartache ended in March when Richardson was finally able to bring him to Minnesota.
"When he arrived, all of the brothers and sisters were there and we were so joyful," said Emmette Richardson.
Benedict enrolled at Wayzata High School and after school Friday, he went swimming with his little sister Samantha, who is 8-years-old. Emmette Richardson watched poolside, snapping family photos, and not long after, Samantha called for help. In seconds, Benedict silently slipped to the bottom of the deep end. No one heard him struggle.
"I try to give him CPR, saying don't do this to me, don't do this to me," said Emmette Richardson.
He could not revive his son. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office pronounced him dead at about 8 p.m. Friday at a Robbinsdale hospital. His cause of death was ruled a drowning.
Benedict told his father that he swam often in his former country, which is on the ocean. Emmette Richardson says his family has already witnessed so much suffering. They will now rely on their strong faith and church community to cope with more loss.
"For the short time he came here, I could tell he had some potential for the future," said Richardson. "He was a great guy and he wanted to help. That's what he told me. He wanted to help people. I don't know. Maybe he will do that in heaven."
Benedict was interested in going into social work and also wanted to serve in the military. He was a sophomore at Wayzata High School.
Funeral arrangements and a fund to help the family are pending.
This type of tragedy has been at the forefront before. Two years ago, Hennepin County held water safety classes after a record increase in drownings at complex apartment pools.