SAINT PAUL, Minn. — NaTarsha Tyson was crushed to receive the news that her 11-year-old middle child DeAndre drowned while swimming in the Mississippi River at Hidden Falls Regional Park.
"I do feel helpless because I wasn't there to protect him and I wasn't there to save him. And I just didn't want him to be scared or anything like that," Tyson said.
The current in the Mississippi was running fast Tuesday. DeAndre was pulled under, and wasn't found for two days.
The Tyson family moved to St. Paul two years ago from Mississippi. DeAndre was going into fifth grade. His mom says his teachers loved him.
"And they loved his southern accent. They were like it's so thick," she said.
The 11-year-old loved sports and was looking forward to flag football this year. He loved to sing and dance. And he was so polite and helpful - especially recently after his mom was in a car accident and hurt her neck.
"He was always just yes ma'am, no ma'am, if I called one of the other kids, he would run to try and beat them and come to my aid. He was always, just special. He was so special," Tyson said.
NaTarsha has received cards from DeAndre's classmates from Cherokee Heights Elementary. She says the community has opened its arms to them in their time of grief. They don't want anyone to forget DeAndre.
"I want everyone to remember how helpful he was. How special he was. He always had a smile. Everybody says every time you see him, he's smiling," Tyson said.