PAINT – A 20-year-old Pittsburgh man died Sunday afternoon after diving into Paint Creek near a waterfall, state police at Somerset confirmed.
Jeremiah Zion Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene following the 12:46 p.m. call, the police press release said. The incident was reported near the 1500 block of Cottage Lane.
The police report called it an accidental death that occurred in a local swimming hole.
Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller’s office said the death is still under investigation. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Thompson’s mother, Kimberly Guenther, of Crafton, Allegheny County, said her son was attending Hiram G. Andrews Center in Upper Yoder Township.
He was due to graduate from the maintenance program and enter the welding program in August.
Although the family is still getting details, Guenther said police told her Thompson was at the swimming hole with friends when he dived in from a waterfall.
“They think he broke his neck and may have done something to his head,” she said.
Guenther plans to meet with Hiram G. Andrews Center administration in the next few days.
She said her son was the youngest of seven children she and their father, Leslie Thompson Sr., raised.
“He was autistic, but the older he got, the more functioning he got,” Guenther said. “He was high-functioning.”
Family members and friends were gathering at her home as word of Thompson’s death spread.
“He loved his siblings and his six nieces and nephews,” she said. “We are a very tight-knit family.”