“Families Have Been Destroyed”: Grief-Stricken Mother’s Emotional Response to Closure of KOA Swimming Pond, Haunted by Tragic 1981 Accident

Published 07/06/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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What was supposed to be a fun day in the pool turned out to be a nightmare that still haunts the residents of Monroe County. On June 28, a teenager named Anthony Shores Jr. drowned in the local pond at the KOA campground. This isn’t the first time someone has died in this pond. Two teens died at the same place in 2022 and 2023. The campground is located off U.S. 23 Exit 9. In light of the most recent accident, the campground management has closed the KOA swimming pond to the public.

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Wendy Alley, who lost her son in a similar tragic accident in 1981, heard the news of this recent drowning. Her painful memories and their devastating impact on her life immediately came rushing back to her.

Recounting the Heart-Wrenching Details of Wendy Alley’s Loss

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As reported by 13ABC, Alley recalled the moment when she saw her dear son Jason being pulled out of the pond, unconscious and bruised. Jason was just 4 years old at the time. Her heart sank as she realized the gravity of the situation. According to Alley, Jason had hit his head after coming down a slide. The paramedics came to the scene and took Jason to the Flower Hospital in Sylvania. Later, they transferred the boy to Toledo Hospital, but he did not survive.

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Wendy Alley blamed the KOA campground management for not taking proper safety measures when the first incident happened. As a result, “families have been destroyed,” said Alley. “I understand accidents happen when you go into the water. You hear about it, but not to this magnitude”. After the recent death of the 18-year-old boy, the campground management announced the permanent closure of the pond and offered refunds for any cancellations. Alley expresses her thrill at this news and emphasizes her wish that the park had taken proper action in a timely manner.

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Wendy Alley’s Reflections On Her Tragic Past

She recounted her story of loss and grief, how she lost her son in a similar incident all those years ago. “In July 1981, Alley says she visited the campground with her family, including her 4-year-old son Jason. Wendy explained she and her husband left Jason with their in-laws and went for a walk”. “I said, ‘We can see everybody.’ I said, ‘but can you keep an eye on Jason?’ and they said yes,” Alley recounted. “And we came back and I’m asking them, I’m like, ‘Well, where’s Jason?’ and they were like, ‘He was just here.’ and my heart sank.”

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All of this happened in a matter of minutes. “Jason, she said, was found unconscious in the pond”. “Next think I know, I hear somebody screaming,” continued Alley. “They found him. They had made a human chain and found him, and when they brought him out, from this side of his ear all the way up to this ear, he had a line of a solid bruise.” Since then, the park had disconnected the slide but made no further adjustments. Because of this, the death count kept on rising. Ultimately, after the latest incident, the campground owners have decided to shut off the pond to the public completely.

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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Anchal Ahuja is a sports author for Essentially Sports. She is a skilled writer who has a vast knowledge of different sports and is now delved into the US Sports Arena. Anchal has chased her dream and followed her passion to become a pro writer.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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