Damien Blade, 14, was often outside training, playing with, or feeding his two beloved dogs. He often left the leashes on his dogs even when they were in the back yard. So when Rocco, his pit bull, came home trailing a muddy leash on Saturday, Damien’s mother, Teresa Sheppard, didn’t think anything was wrong. She last saw Damien feeding the dogs and cleaning off the patio, according to the Dallas Morning News.
However, as the day progressed and Damien wasn’t home, Sheppard knew something was amiss. Because of the torrential rains in north Texas, the creeks and rivers overflowed, pushing the storm drains and culverts to record heights. The culverts and storm drains are a big draw for exploration by teens, according to the Pet Rescue Examiner. They naturally explore there as there are no nearby parks.
A K-9 search team called in by DeSoto police found Damien and his Labrador retriever mix, Lucky, dead in a storm drain near his home. Sheppard, tearfully, described her son as a happy young man who wanted to be a singer and actor when he grew up. He attended McCowan Middle School. She stated the following, as she sat on the floor of her Rio Verde Drive home, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“He loved his dogs, and his dog died with him….He was always helping people, not complaining at all….He was always in the backyard teaching them [his dogs] different tricks.”
DeSoto Police Corporal Nick Bristow said authorities didn’t know the specifics of how and where Damien ended up in the water, but Sheppard believes he entered it five houses down from her residence, where culverts that move storm waters emerge from underground and feed a modest, canyon-like drainage area. The drainage area feeds Spring Creek, where Damien and Lucky were found. Bristow noted that Damien enjoyed exploring the storm drains and culverts, as other teens also did.
Thinking of the safety of others, Sheppard stated that the city should block access to the drainage area, which is easily accessible to anyone. She noted how dangerous these areas are and wants people and officials to realize the extreme danger that exists at the end of a typical North Texas suburban street.
The devastating flash floods across Texas and Oklahoma have led to the discovery of even more bodies among the rubble. With a third body located near the Blanco River in Texas yesterday, that brings the death toll to 19 — and it’s still climbing, according to an article in the Inquisitr.
[Photo By Eric Kayne/Getty Images]