By Ed Runyan
Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County coroner, has ruled that two men found dead over the weekend in a Newton Township pond died by accidental drowning.
The coroner issued the rulings Tuesday after conducting autopies on the bodies of Anthony Harris Sr., 48, and his son, Anthony Harris Jr., 20, both of Youngstown.
The accident occurred while the men were fishing at Rankin’s Pond off of Miller Graber Road east of Newton Falls. The pond is about 10 to 12 feet deep and has heavy vegetation on the bottom, officials said.
To Brian Marrow, football coach at Youngstown Christian School and a relative, the loss is heartbreaking — because they were good, Christian men. They enjoyed fishing and went often, he said.
“It seems so unfair to lose two guys like that. Anybody who knew them will tell you A.J. was a great kid,” he said of Anthony junior. Tony, as his father was known, worked at RG Steel before it closed, and was a good role model. A.J. lived with his father.
Marrow said that when Anthony senior’s wife called to say that they had not come home when they were supposed to and she couldn’t reach them by cellphone, everyone knew something was terribly wrong.
Tony said they would be back by 2 p.m. because Tony planned to attend the jazz festival that night in Youngstown, and Tony was never late.
Marrow, who is married to Tony’s sister and who coached A.J. three years on the football team, said authorities told the family they found Tony’s boots floating in the water. A.J.’s sneakers were still on his feet.
“They could swim, so it’s hard to know how it happened,” Marrow said. “None of us knows. Only God knows. God doesn’t make mistakes. We’ll find out later.”
Their truck was found on a gravel access road by the pond about 8 p.m. by two juveniles, who contacted authorities. A canoe was found part way in the water.
The body of Anthony Harris Sr., 48, was found by personnel from several fire departments about 20 to 30 yards offshore about 7 p.m. Sunday while they were dragging the pond. The body of Anthony Harris Jr. was found early Monday.
“Anthony was one of a kind. He was a great inspiration, great leader, great human being, just one of those kids that you gravitated to,” said Dolph Carroll, YCS athletic director, according to the Vindicator’s broadcast partner, 21 WFMJ-TV.
The school invited pastors to console former teammates at a conditioning practice Monday night.
“This is one of those things where kids ask ‘Why?’ And we don’t know why. We can only go with the hope that we know as Christians,” said Mike Pecchia, president of the school.