Family struggles for strength after 7-year-old drowns

Published: Jul. 18, 2017 at 6:19 PM EDT
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With tears in his eyes and his son on his mind, Darshawn Witt Sr. said he doesn't hold anyone responsible for the death of his seven-year-old boy, Darshawn Witt Jr.

"As a family, we have to be strong," said Witt.

That strength was found in the Knoxville family's weakest moment when their loved one, Witt Jr., drowned in the pool at the Quality Inn & Suites West Waterpark Sunday.

Local 8 News asked Witt Jr.'s mom what comes to mind when she think of him, and she pointed to a tattoo she has in his honor.

Witt's grandmother, Edwina Chandler, was in the hotel room with him and his five-year-old brother moments before he took his last breath.

Chandler said all three were supposed to take a quick nap before going for swim, but Witt Jr. wasn't sleepy.

"Me and his brother went to sleep; he never did go to sleep," said Chandler. "He said, 'Granny, I got the key, I'll be right back; I'm going swimming,'" she continued.

By time she and her younger grandson woke up and went to the pool, they were met by police and heartache.

'I see all the police surround me and ask me your grandson, well we found a child that drowned; what color did he have on?" recalled Chandler. "I just felt it in my heart that was my grandson, and I knew he would've come back; yeah, he was unattended at the time, but he chose to leave on his own," she continued.

Loved ones tell Local 8 News they never neglected Witt Jr. and would've drowned to save him. In their darkest hour, they hold onto precious memories their little boy left behind.

"To all the fathers out there, I encourage y'all," said Witt Sr. "If y'all got little boys, spend time with them and be there for them, because when they're gone, they're gone," he continued.