WHITE LAKE, Mich. — A male teen went missing and was later found dead in a pond after authorities said he fled from police as they responded to a commercial burglary early Sunday morning.
Officers with the White Lake Township Police Department responded about 2:00 a.m. to an alarm at a Tractor Supply store. Upon arrival, Joe Paduchowski, 16, and another teen were seen climbing down from the roof of the building, WXYZ reported.
The unnamed teen was taken into custody, but Paduchowski fled into a nearby wooded area. Officers searched for him, including the use of a police K9, but he could not be located.
When Paduchowski later failed to return hime, his family reported him missing and a search took place, police said, according to WHMI.
White Lake officers were joined by the Oakland County Search and Rescue Team as they looked for the missing teen.
Around 10 p.m. Paduchowski’s body was found and recovered from a small pond in the area of Highland Road and Maple Heights Drive in White Lake Township.
Detectives with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the teen’s death. A preliminary review of the incident points to an accidental drowning, authorities said.
“It’s a very tragic situation,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told WXYZ. “Good kids make bad choices.”
“It was totally dark and he must’ve run unwittingly into the pond, which was very mucky. He was probably running fast, amped up, and he probably ingested a lot of water into his lungs when he fell in,” Bouchard said, according to Yahoo News.
“It’s a huge tragedy,” pointing up the danger of trying to flee from police, Bouchard said.
“Even good kids make bad choices, and they usually get a second chance. This time, that can’t happen,” he noted.
Paduchowski was a junior at Lakeland High School in White Lake, where he was a member of the varsity football team. He also worked at a local restaurant, according to his obituary.
“Our son was a great kid. This was nothing more than a childish prank by two kids that should have never been out on the streets at this time,” Randy Paduchowski, Joe’s father, said. “This is proof positive that you should never take anyone or anything for granted.”
“He had the biggest heart of any kid you’ll ever meet,” the grieving father continued. “His loss has left an indescribable hole in our hearts and souls.”
White Lake is located approximately about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.