12-year-old Georgia boy drowns while trying to help younger child, officials say

Lake Sinclair is located near Milledgeville and has 417 miles of shoreline with a 15,330-acre lake. The lake is a popular boating destination and is the site of national and local fishing tournaments. (Photo: AJC)

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Authorities have recovered the body of a 12-year-old who drowned in a Georgia lake while trying to help a child struggling in the water.

The victim, identified as Traetorin Mitchell, was at Lake Sinclair near Milledgeville with his family on Sunday when he saw a younger child begin to struggle in the water, according to Mark McKinnon, a spokesperson for the state Department of Natural Resources’ law enforcement division.

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The child was wearing a life jacket but having trouble getting back to the bank, McKinnon told The Macon Telegraph. Traetorin entered the lake, pushed the child toward the shore, but then went under the water himself and never resurfaced, according to the official.


Crews began searching the lake for Traetorin using sonar Sunday evening, and his body was pulled from the water just before 11 a.m. Monday.

The boy’s remains were sent to the coroner for an autopsy.

In 2018, a 23-year-old man drowned in the lake at a bachelor’s party. Robert Zachary Bunsa, who is from New Jersey, was trying to see how long he could hold his breath, but didn’t come back up.

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

The 12-year-old went in to help a younger child, officials said.

Posted by The Telegraph & macon.com on Monday, May 17, 2021