HAMLET - A community is mourning the loss of a Richmond County teen who investigators said drowned at Pee Dee River near Rockingham Saturday.
Family members told Channel 9 that Jaquan Bailey, 17, of Hamlet drowned while fishing with his friends.
"He decided to jump in the water to cool off, said Velma Dawkins, who is Jaquan's mother. "He got a cramp in his leg and went under the water."
Dawkins said Jaquan's friends tried to save him but weren't able to pull him from the water. Jaquan drowned before help arrived.
"The last words he said to me were,"I love you, Mom," said Dawkins. "That was before he went to the river. I can't believe that was the last time I would ever see my child."
Dawkins said Jaquan would often get leg cramps, especially when he played football. Jaquan competed on the team at Richmond Senior High School, where his mother said he had just completed his sophomore year.
"His teammates are going to be out there on that field this upcoming season and they're going to play for Jaquan," said Alecia Graham, who is Jaquan's aunt.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by Nelson Funeral Home in Rockingham. Plans are not yet finalized.
Channel 9 hopes to have more information from police Monday as the investigation is ongoing.
A fund has been set up to help the family of the teen. Click here for more information.