Stow faces third student death

Mike Klesta

Stow-Munroe Falls High School faced the third student death in the past year Thursday night.

Shawn Blackwell, 17, was found dead in Crystal Lake, a private lake immediately off Graham Road in Silver Lake, said Chief Gary DeMoss of the Silver Lake Police Department. Blackwell was last seen about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, DeMoss said, and his parents were unaware of him being missing.

Silver Lake Police received a call at around 10:10 a.m. Thursday about a potential break-in at the small community’s private boathouse. Employees were recently readying the boathouse for the upcoming season’s activities, and the employees noticed lights on, a radio blaring and other signs of entry, DeMoss said.

Police found what they believe is a suicide note as well as Blackwell’s glasses, watch, wallet with ID and cell phone. Tracks led one way across the sandy shore, and a kayak was missing.

The police immediately called the Stow Fire Department for search and rescue. Using scuba gear and sonar, Stow and a host of other local fire departments eventually found Blackwell dead in about 25 feet of water, DeMoss said.

“It was a million-dollar operation,” DeMoss said, with the number of departments activated.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office said the autopsy was completed 1:15 p.m. Friday, and the cause of death was drowning.

Stow-Munroe Falls High School Principal Cynthia Finley said the school is faced with yet another student death — the other most recent being a senior found dead eight months after going missing. She said the school had guidance counselors “shadow” Blackwell’s classes to help students cope with the death.

Extra counselors and psychologists were available for students’ use, and quite a few students have taken advantage of them, Finley said.

Stow-Munroe Falls High School has yet to announce a date for a memorial service.

Contact public affairs reporter Mike Klesta at [email protected].