Benedict College is mourning the death of a student who was found dead after he went missing in Lancaster County over the Fourth of July holiday.
A body believed to be that of Jerell White, 22, was found in a pond off Pleasant Road in Lancaster County just before 9 a.m. Saturday, Lancaster County sheriff’s spokesman Doug Barfield said in a release. White was last seen in that area around 1 a.m. July 5 after leaving a Fourth of July party.
Benedict College said in a Facebook post that White was a rising sophomore at the Columbia college.
“He was a bright and talented young man and he will be dearly missed,” the college said in a Facebook post.
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An autopsy will determine the cause of death. The State Law Enforcement Division is assisting the Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.
“It’s tearing me up,” White’s aunt, Dianne Ross, said at the scene Saturday. “I’ve been praying asking God, however you bring him back to us just let us find him.”
Search crews spent three days searching wooded areas. Friend Tonya Ross said Saturday that they had been preparing for the worst.
Deputies said there was a fight at the party and White left, according to WSOC-TV of Charlotte.
White's cellphone was found on the ground where he scaled a fence, and his broken eyeglasses were found in the driveway of the house that hosted the party, WSOC-TV reports.
Family members said White played football and ran track at Lancaster High School. He was active in his church playing a variety of instruments in a worship band and singing. He also liked to fish and hunt.
The Herald of Rock Hill contributed to this report.