Chance Mills
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

Family, friends remember 18-year-old Dayton drowning victim at vigil

Friends and family, holding balloons and photographs, remembered an 18-year-old tonight who drowned earlier this week in a Dayton pond.

News Center 7 was there Friday as search crews recovered Chance Mills’ body from the Lakeside Park pond.

News Center 7’s Molly Koweek was at the Saturday vigil, where Mills’ family said they still can’t believe this happened.

“It’s like a bad dream,” said Laura Coleman, Mills’ mother.

The gray and cold day reflected the feelings of family and friends about Mills’ passing.

RELATED: Questions loom about why Lakeside Park drowning victim was in pond

“Missing him laugh, his jokes, not being able to see him come back through that door ever again,” Coleman said.

“Real heartbroke. I miss my son,” said Chris Lacy, Mills’ father.

Through broken hearts, Mills’ family said they want the 18-year-old remembered for his heart.

“He had a heart, so big, so big,” his mother said.

“He was a funny guy, he loved to play jokes,” his father said.

Mills was reported missing Thursday night after witnesses told Dayton police they saw him struggling to swim in the pond near his home.

“When we got there I knew my son was gone,” Coleman said.

During the recovery effort, his younger sister even jumped in trying to help.

“It really hurt my heart because I was really hoping that he wasn’t in the water, but he was in the water,” Meleysia Mills said.

PHOTOS: Search resumes for drowning victim at Lakeside Park in Dayton

Dayton fire officials said divers found his body in 25-feet deep, 50-degree water.

“A freak accident,” Coleman said.

Chance Mills’ parents said their son was just playing with friends on Thursday. They don’t know why he would have been in the water because he didn’t know how to swim.

After his death, Mills’ loved ones want others to remember how he lived.

“Remember Chance, remember who he was,” his mother said.

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