HOUSTON – A grieving family is asking the city of Houston to put up warning signs and depth measurements after their son drowned in Sims Bayou.
On June 2, Colette Hayes got a text message from her 15-year-old son, Dahmari.
“He was asking me can he get the fishing pole so he could go fishing, and I told him, ‘No. Absolutely not.’ He didn’t respond back, but I didn’t think anything of it because usually when I tell Dahmari not to do something he doesn’t do it,” she said.
But a few hours later, she got a call that changed her life.
“The neighbor said Dahmari fell in the water in the lake and he can’t get out,” she recalled.
The family rushed to Sims Bayou near Airport Boulevard and called 911.
“My husband and son actually jumped in the water to try to find him,” Hayes told KPRC 2 News.
It took police dive teams six hours to recover Dahmari’s body.
“He had on yellow Crocs and they pulled one of his shoes out of the water, and at that time, I knew my son was gone. His friend said he slipped in, he was kind of in the middle and he tried to send a pole to him but he couldn’t grab it, then he went under and never came back up,” Hayes said.
Parts of the Sims Bayou in Sunnyside are so shallow you can see the concrete bottom, but there are also deep drop-offs.
The family has launched a petition to have the city put up signs warning of the dangers of the area and depth markers.
“I really put the petition out for the mayor of Houston to just see what happened to my son. I know if there were signs posted out there saying the water was that deep my son wouldn’t have gone close to that water. We just want to spare other families the pain. It’s all about prevention,” said Hayes.
She says her son feared water after a near-drowning at age seven and didn’t know how to swim. The family was planning to join the YMCA this summer so they could all get swim lessons. They’re now hoping to work with a local swim instructor to start a program in Dahmari’s memory to help other kids learn.
You can view the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/take-action-for-dahmari-hayes
Donate to the family’s GoFundMe account here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-family-of-darron-and-colette-puckett