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Family of Ohio football player who drowned retains law firm to investigate his death

Posted at 1:38 PM, Jul 28, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — Following last week's drowning death of an Ohio high school football player, 14-year-old Toshaye Pope's family has retained the services of Tittle & Perlmuter law firm to investigate the matter and look into the circumstances surrounding his death.

According to the Springfield Township Police Department, officers responded to Melanie Lake, a swim and event center, on July 21 just before 2 p.m. for a teen who had been underwater for an unknown amount of time.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that some individuals jumped off a dock and diving board at the lake. Pope ended up in the water and slid below the surface. Lifeguards pulled him out, and he was transported to a nearby hospital. He died on Saturday night.

Pope was an incoming freshman at Akron Early College High School and participated in a football event for Ellet High School, where he was permitted to play since his school didn't have a team.

The law firm said the teen's parents were unaware of the team's plans, as they weren't informed by anyone. It wasn't until the police called his parents and told them they needed to head to the hospital that they learned what had happened.

The law firm said it is looking into the matter and will investigate any possible wrongdoing.

It released the following statement on behalf of the family this morning.

“This family is heartbroken and in grief because of the loss of their son. This young man was the kind of son every parent would hope for – not only was he a scholar-athlete, but also his positive personality could light up the room. Obviously, the family is devastated.

A freshman football player’s family should not have to worry about whether their son is going to come home from team events. We intend to get answers for Toshaye’s grieving family and request prayers as they try to get through this unthinkable loss. We will investigate whether the safety rules were followed by all involved; and if they were not, hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Akron Public Schools released the following statement two days ago:

“The Akron Public Schools family is saddened by the news of the passing of this young man and has begun an inquiry into just what happened. We are offering grief counseling and ask for prayers for the family.”

Following the teen's death, WEWS' Bob Jones spoke to those who knew Pope and was told he was loved by both his classmates and school staff. You can watch more in the player below:

Drew Scofield at WEWS first reported this story.