Hickory High student drowns after jumping into Catawba County lake, officials say

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — An 18-year-old woman drowned Tuesday in a Catawba County lake, officials said.

First responders were called to an access point in eastern Catawba County on Lake Lookout to search for a woman who jumped off a dock with her friend.

The woman, later identified as Zimera Aveonna Smith, of Hickory, never resurfaced, officials said. Her body was recovered near the dock.

Smith was about to graduate from Hickory High School.

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“She loved to take care of other people,” her Godmother, Jeanie Thompson, said Wednesday. “She could have been at her lowest, but she still found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, always.”

Investigators said Smith’s friend tried repeatedly to reach Smith.

“Just devastated that she wasn’t there,” Thompson, said. “The other girl was standing there, and I was, like, ‘What happened? What happened? And she told us they jumped in holding hands. That Aveonna went down, and she didn’t make it back up.”

Smith and two men fishing nearby also jumped in the water to help.

Officials said the water is about eight feet deep at that location.

This access area is popular for fishing and is often crowded during the summer months.

“When you hear the expression, ‘Somebody walks in a room and the whole room lights up.’ That was her,” friend Allyssa Crawford said.


Return to this developing story for updates.

(Watch the video below: NC Wildlife: Crews find body of man who went missing on Lake Norman)