NewsRegionHarford County


Family remembers 11-year-old son who died after near drowning on Memorial Day

Family has to bury second child in four years
Posted at 11:13 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 08:38:25-04

"I could write a book about Zephaniah's short 11 year life," said Edith Muchele, Zephaniah Mentoe's mother.

Her son died on Friday after nearly drowning on Memorial Day.

READ MORE: 11-year-old rescued from swimming pool on Memorial Day passes away

"I was sitting right by the pool. I didn't see his hand struggle. I didn't see bubbles coming up. I didn't see anything and I was right there," said Edith."I got up and stood up and there's my baby, lying face down at the bottom of the pool."

Emergency responders were able to resuscitate Zephaniah on scene, but, after fighting for a week at the hospital, he passed.

"I never thought this would happen to us the second time. This is the second baby we have to bury," said Edith.

Their daughter, Elianna Patricia, died when she was just three months old when she had cardiac arrest.

"We didn't know four years later it was going to be Zeph," said Edith.

He was a young boy who touched so many lives.

"He was such a helpful little boy, so sweet and so nice," said Lauretta Krakue, Zephaniah's Auntie. "He was such a good kid. We were all just together on Sunday. We had a little barbecue; who knew it was the last time."

"He was such a protector," said Gradia Bauman, Zephaniah's aunt. "We will forever hold Zephaniah in our hearts. It's not a memory that will go away."

His family remembers him for all of his accomplishments, like all of his athletic and academic awards. Edith said he just recently made the honor roll. More importantly, they remember him for his big heart.

Zephaniah had a prayer chart by his bed so he would he pray for friends and family every day.

"Any father would cherish to have a son like that. We didn't just lose a son, we lost a leader. A future leader," said Fredrick Muchele. "He went and fed the people. He was amazing. It's a great loss, not just for us, but for the community."

Now, they're hoping to make 'Zephaniah's Food Pantry,' in his honor, since he always helped the homeless.

Edith and Fredrick haven't been working since they were at the hospital with Zephaniah. If you would like to help them with their hospital bills and funeral expenses, click here.

They plan on having a service locally on June 22 and then plan on burying Zephaniah with his sister in Minnesota.