Friend shares memories of drowning victim


POSTED: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 9:04pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 10:26pm

The body of a missing Chaparral boy was found in Quemado Lake on Wednesday.

Sixteen year-old Seth Stephenson, and another boy, named Noah Hooper from Colorado, went missing on Sunday, after their group at summer camp made a stop at Quemado Lake earlier that day.

After a three day search of the lake, using a helicopter, boat, and sonar technology, New Mexico Search and Rescue crews found two bodies.

Thirteen year-old Ronnie Lorenzo Martinez from Northeast El Paso met Seth last summer at the camp.

"We used to wrestle a lot. We used to play and go horseback riding. We used to see each other and like eat together," said Ronnie.

He says he was new to the program last year, and Seth took him under his wing.

"The first year I went, I couldn't find a bed so, I was sleeping next to him, and we started getting along and then yeah, that's how we got along, like we used to talk to each other and all that," said Ronnie.

The boys attended camp at the Apache Creek Deaf and Youth Ranch near Quemado Lake, New Mexico.

Seth and his family volunteered their time to help kids in the deaf program.

Ronnie went to take part in the outdoor activities, attend bible study, and learn about God.

But this year, the boys were in different groups at camp and hadn't seen each since last summer.

"He was a good friend, he was nice to you," said Ronnie.

Just days before Seth went missing and later wound up dead in an apparent drowning at Quemado Lake, Ronnie says he found a mentor in Seth, whose last words to Ronnie were words of advice.

"Go to college, stay in school, get a good job," said Seth.

After the tragedy at camp, Ronnie says he worries about going back.

"You never know -- something could happen to you, you could get lost," said Ronnie.

Ronnie told NewsChannel 9 that Seth talked about college a lot the last time the two spoke, and told Ronnie he was looking forward to going some day.

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