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Father of teen who drowned in canal describes frantic search for son

The grieving father of a teenager who drowned in the Sea Breeze Canal last week said his son was supposed to be playing basketball with friends at the time.

Wisly Elias told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that he went on a frantic search for his son when he heard that something was wrong.

Police said Kennesly Elias, 13, was swimming in the canal with friends when he drowned last Tuesday.

Wisly Elias said a friend came to him on Tuesday and told him that something was wrong with his son.

“That person didn’t want to tell me the truth,” Elias said.

“I said, ‘What happened?’

“He said, ‘I heard your son got hurt.’

“I said, ‘Where?’

“But he said South Beach. I said South Beach? How my son get in South Beach?”

Elias said he sped to his son’s mother’s home and asked where the teen was.

She told him that Kennesly was playing basketball.

Elias said he decided against worrying her about what he had heard. Instead, he drove to the home of the boys his son played with, but they were no help.

Then, he drove to South Beach and searched the area, looking for his son.


He stopped at a police station and asked if there was any report of his son.


“I went back to the other kids’ families and I saw them,” he said.

“I asked them, ‘Where my son?’

“I said, ‘Where my son?’

“Everybody looking into my eyes. They were crying. They kept saying ‘sorry’.

“I said, ‘Don’t tell me sorry. I want to know where my son is.’”

Elias said he became angry and started shouting.

“I said, ‘How am I going to tell his mother where he is? You all don’t want to tell me. Everybody looking in my eye like I’m crazy.’

“Nobody said nothing.”

Finally, he headed back to his son’s mother’s home. He eventually told her that he feared their son was dead.

He said he saw a man in the yard of the home and said, “I told him, ‘Boy, I can’t hold it no more. I lose my son.’

“The people asked why. I said, ‘My son dead.’”

Eventually, Elias said he learned that his son died while swimming in the canal in Sea Breeze.

Like brothers

Kennesly, a student at C.H. Reeves Junior High School, was headed into Grade 9 this term, his father said.

He said the two were close, despite not living together. They texted or called each other nearly every day.

“This is my son,” he said. “This is my boy. I have a friend who said my son and I aren’t like father and son, we are like brothers.”

Elias is struggling to grapple with such a huge loss. He is not eating and is reluctant to answer his phone or respond to texts because everyone wants to talk about his son, he said.

“I’m not going to see him anymore and he’s not coming back,” he said.

“That hurt me so hard. He’s my heart.”