18-Year-Old Drowned in Gardendale


Tuesday evening an 18-year-old drowned in Gardendale.

Ector County Sheriffs Office responded to the 17,000 block of Zinnia Avenue, where Skylyn Duke was found, transported to Medical Center Hospital and pronounced dead.

Sergeant Gary Duesler with Ector County Sheriffs Office says Duke’s body is being sent to Tarrant County for an autopsy because it was declared an unattended death. Which means no one was around to see exactly what happened.

“Anytime there’s an unattended death, we don’t comment or anything until we get a final autopsy which is going to be about 6 to 8 weeks away minimum because its a guessing game at that point and we would rather be sure,” said Sgt.Duesler.

This marks the fourth drowning this year in Ector County and the second death. Compared to 2017, when MCH ER staff saw five drowning victims, one of whom died.

“So statistics say that the age range from 15 to 19 its 49% of drowning rate, compared to zero to four years is 23% so as you can see there a lot higher risk from 15 to 19,” said Sirena Perkins, Trauma Outreach And Injury Prevention Coordinator.

Perkins said even a smaller percent is due to dry drowning, which can harm you up to 24 hours later.

“All its referring to is getting water into the lungs so this can simply happen by getting dunked or in the bath tub getting water splashed in your mouth,” said Perkins.

After a traumatic water experience or getting splashed, here are signs Perkins said to look for:

  • Excessive Coughing
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Feeling Tired.

“We do live in West Texas, we do have hot weather and summer just got out so a lot of kids are going to want to go swimming so its just important to teach each parent to make sure their kids are safe,” said Perkins.  

“Don’t overdo anything, keep hydrated, the sun is great to a point but if you start to feel light headed or nauseated or whatever just take a break the sun isn’t going anywhere,” said Sgt. Duesler.

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