Police officials, family members and community activists have different views about what happened to 12-year-old Mark Goodrich Jr., whose body was found last week in the Shenango River, near the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
According to Goodrich’s father, who taught him to swim, his son’s drowning was no accident. He speculated that his son had been “pushed into the water and held under” by another boy.
Goodrich Sr., who is separated from his wife, said, “My son was an excellent swimmer. I taught him myself.”
An autopsy conducted by the coroner of Mercer County confirmed that Goodrich drowned but found no trauma to his body. Meanwhile, further investigations continue, including evaluations of video footage obtained from a nearby factory that show two boys remaining on the railroad bridge over the river where there had been three.
Members of the Goodrich family, especially Sheila May Goodrich, the boy’s mother, contend that the two other boys “had been trying to get him to jump off the bridge for the longest time, and he didn’t want to.”
His body was found in the river on July 14. He had been missing for two days.
The other two boys in the video have not been identified, though one young man has been interviewed by the police. The results of that interview have not been released.
Workers at the nearby factory said they saw the boys on the bridge but didn’t see any violence between them.
Two years ago, 15-year-old Brandin Norris, Goodrich’s cousin, drowned in the same river.
As the investigation continues, candlelight vigils have been held to remember Goodrich, who would have been a seventh grader at Sharon Middle-High School this fall.