A Kennesaw family is fundraising online for donations to help cover the cost of a 19-year-old’s death by drowning.
Dustin Arroyo, who had just finished his first year at Georgia State University, died Tuesday afternoon while swimming at Little River Falls in Alabama, authorities said.
His body was recovered from the river Thursday morning, the National Park Service said, and transported to the Cherokee County Coroner in Alabama.
Dustin Arroyo’s father, Miguel Arroyo, established a GoFundMe webpage to raise money for his son’s unexpected funeral costs, including “basic service fees from the mortuary, the burial, transportation to the funeral home, and other expenses.”
Over $7,500 had been donated by Friday afternoon.
“We are currently still waiting for the coroner so that we can transport him back home in Georgia in hopes that we can hold a service for him early next week,” Arroyo wrote on the fundraiser webpage. “Any amount helps and we truly appreciate any donation in advance.”
Dustin Arroyo was described by his father as fearless, loving and with goals and ambitions.
“As a parent, one always lives thinking our children will outlive us,” his father wrote on the GoFundMe page. “So of all the pain and heartbreaks one can experience in life, the feeling of losing a child is probably the most difficult to put into words, even more so to endure.”
Dustin Arroyo was the kind of son who would surprise his mother, little brother and little sister with new clothes on a random day “just because,” his father said, “like he had done this previous Sunday.”
The teenager enjoyed playing tennis and mountain biking with his father at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and checked his investments each morning to see how his stocks’ value had changed, joking with his mother he’d soon make millions, according to the fundraiser.
“It is hard to imagine our home without his presence now, but the 19 years we had with him were still a gift,” his family said. He will be in our hearts everyday.”
Per the National Park Service, Dustin Arroyo was swimming in swift waters in the pool beneath Little River Falls with a 21-year-old Cobb woman around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Both were caught in the current, but the woman, whose identity had not been made public, managed to get out of the water, authorities said, adding that Dustin Arroyo did not resurface.
Little River Falls is near Fort Payne in Alabama, about 100 miles northwest of Cobb County.
“Many rescues and even deaths have occurred here,” the National Park Service says on its Little River Falls website.
Per investigators, the weather and river conditions meant search and rescue teams were not successful until Thursday morning, when Dustin Arroyo's body was located by Fischer Rescue Squad divers just before 9 a.m. and removed from the water.