Middle school student drowns at Marion County swimming area - KPTV - FOX 12

Family remembers 14-year-old drowning victim as 'the biggest teddy bear'

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Sean Kaleopa, 14, was pulled from the water of the Three Pools recreation area, but could not be resuscitated. Photo: Marion Co. Sheriff's Office. Sean Kaleopa, 14, was pulled from the water of the Three Pools recreation area, but could not be resuscitated. Photo: Marion Co. Sheriff's Office.
Three Pools recreation area in Marion County Three Pools recreation area in Marion County
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A Salem teen was killed while swimming with his family at the Three Pools recreation area in Marion County.

Emergency crews were called to the popular swimming destination in rural east Marion County, about 12 miles northwest of Detroit, at 3 p.m. Monday on reports of a drowning.

Deputies said 14-year-old Sean Kaleopa was swimming with his family when they noticed he was missing. They found him at the bottom of a pool of water.

Family members and other people at the park formed a human chain to pull Sean from the water. CPR was performed by people in the area and first responders at the scene, but Sean could not be resuscitated.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office called the response to try and save the boy a "heroic effort."

Sean's family describes him as a "big brother to all." He was a Houck Middle School Student who was active in numerous sports, his favorite being football.

Sean had participated in the NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick competition in Seattle last year. However, as ferocious as he could be on the football field, standing 6'1" and 250 pounds, his family remembers him best for his big heart.

"A gentle giant," his uncle told Fox 12. "He put on a front like he was the meanest, but anyone that knew Sean, knew he was the biggest teddy bear."

Friends and family gathered for an impromptu memorial at Houck Middle School on Tuesday afternoon. Sean would have been a freshman at West Salem High School in the fall.

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