The families of Purvis Virginia Parker and Quadrevion Henning finally know what happened to the boys, nearly a month after they disappeared. It was neither the nightmare of evil suffering they had feared, nor anything close to a fully answered prayer.
The bodies of Purvis, 11, and Quadrevion, 12, were found in a park lagoon on an unseasonably warm evening Friday. They weren’t far from the basketball court they had been headed for on the icy afternoon March 19 when they were last seen.
Police said Saturday that the boys accidentally drowned. They speculate that Purvis, who could not swim, somehow fell in and that Quadrevion, a strong swimmer, jumped in to try to save his good friend.
Milwaukee County medical examiner Jeffrey Jentzen said the water was so cold at the time that the boys could have lost consciousness immediately and died within 15 minutes.
“It’s believed that the boys’ bodies have been in the water since the day they were reported missing,” Milwaukee police Chief Nan Hegerty said in closing the investigation. “They were probably in the water before we were even notified that they were missing.”
Comforted by the truth
Dennis Frazier, Quadrevion’s uncle, said the family was relieved that the long ordeal was over.
“Heads (are) lifted up in good spirits, smiles on their faces considering the circumstances,” he said.
“It’s my son,” Purvis’ mother, Angela Virginia, told The Associated Press by phone. She later told WTMJ-TV that she was now at ease because all she had wanted was closure.
“I got what I asked for because I have to go on from here,” Virginia said.
Volunteers and police had combed the park numerous times and dive teams had searched the large lagoon where the boys were later found, but did not find them in the murky water. A few hours after a man and his son walking in the park spotted Purvis’ body floating in the lagoon, divers found the body of Quadrevion.
“I don’t think there was any foul play,” Frazier said before police confirmed the drownings were accidental. “That makes it kind of nice for the family that they weren’t held against their own will.”
Community shares in tragedy
The community had rallied around the boys’ families, offering flowers and hugs, tying white ribbons around every tree in the neighborhood and helping to raise a $70,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of the boys. Authorities said that the entity that collected the money would have to decide where it went.
“After all the time that went by, I felt it,” said Henning family friend Dian Glore, who helped organize a fundraiser just after the children went missing. “The kids, they just made the wrong choice.”
The boys, who lived about two blocks from each other, were good students who family members said would never go somewhere without permission. Word swirled throughout the community that perhaps the boys had been abducted, but experts had said that was highly unlikely and police had said repeatedly that there was no evidence a crime had been committed.
Frazier said he hoped authorities would re-evaluate the Amber Alert system. The family has said the stipulations were too cumbersome to quickly get the information out, and the boys had been missing well before an official announcement was posted.
Frazier, wearing a T-shirt with his nephew’s picture on it, said the boys’ deeply religious families were taking solace in knowing they were in a better place.
“Yes, yes,” he said. “They’re home.”