Quinn's Pond drowning victim was refugee who just arrived in Boise

Drowning victim was refugee new to Boise.

The 15-year-old boy who died while swimming in Quinn's Pond on July 14 was a refugee who had only been in Boise for two weeks before the accident.

Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee, says Dieudonne Eca and his family fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo after staying in refugee camps for several years.

According to officials we spoke with on scene when the accident happened, Eca was swimming with friends when he suddenly went under water and stayed under for more than 20 minutes.

Tzul says the friends he was with are also refugees and go through IRC programs. The organization is working with those kids and providing mental health resources.

As far as Eca's family, Tzul says the IRC has been in constant communication since the accident and they are struggling to wrap their heads around what happened.

"They're devastated," said Tzul. "They're incredibly strong to have survived everything they've survived before, and now this? Everyone here has a heart for helping the people that we help and it just rocks us to the core to have a loss like this especially of a child."

Tzul says the IRC is working with Eca's family to solidify funeral arrangements, which they anticipate will be difficult financially since the family has only been here a very brief time.

If you'd like to help, you can make a donation to go toward funeral costs.  

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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