No swimming allowed in area where 19-year-old drowned

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – 19-year-old Jalen Michael Ward Sheeler died Thursday after jumping off a cliff into the water at Ludlow Falls.

He first swam to shore before returning to the water, where he became distressed and eventually drowned.

READ MORE: 19-year-old Ludlow Falls drowning victim identified

Sheriff Dave Duchak says he’s talking with engineers about installing a more effective deterrent against swimmers in the area.

“I can’t emphasize the danger enough for folks not to swim there,” he said.

Divers with the Piqua Fire Department say Sheeler was already dead when they eventually found him and pulled him from the water.

“There are signs posted and we’re going to be working on getting additional signage. This has been a problem area since I’ve been with the Sheriff’s Office, since 1990,” the Sheriff said.

Sheriff Duchak says a number of things make swimming in Ludlow Falls dangerous: including a strong undertow that would challenge even strong swimmers.

In the past, divers have found debris like trees, refrigerators, box springs, and rail road tracks lurking beneath the surface.

“Deputies patrol it as often as we can and the village passed an ordinance that we cite them in court for a violation. We just can’t have deputies there 24/7,” said Sheriff Duchak.

One of Sheeler’s friends was filming them as they were jumping.

The Sheriff says they have that video and are reviewing it as they continue to investigate.

“This is at least the fourth I can remember. It breaks your heart every time because it’s a tragedy,” he said.

Sheriff Duchak says they are not pursuing any charges against Jalen Sheeler’s companions right now, citing the already-traumatic nature of the incident.

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