By Jared Felkins
WATERTOWN – A tight-knit community continued Monday to mourn the loss of a 17-year-old boy who drowned Saturday while swimming at Old Hickory Lake.
Wilson Emergency Management Agency divers found the body of Elijah Keon Dotson, of Watertown, on Saturday evening after about a three-hour underwater search at Cedar Creek Boat Ramp in Mt. Juliet.
Dotson was a senior at Watertown High School. He previously played football and was a member of the track and field team. According to Watertown High School principal Jeff Luttrell, counselors were made available Monday to students who needed support.
“We are so saddened as a school and community at the loss of our student, Keon Dotson,” Luttrell said. “He possessed a powerful smile and a personality that drew people to want to know him. We will take every step possible to ensure we assist our students as they grieve the loss of a friend and classmate.”
A community prayer service was held Sunday evening in the library at Watertown Middle School, organized by the Bridge’s parents of teens life group and the church’s youth group. All community members and students were invited to participate.
According to social media posts, students and faculty wore red Monday to school in honor of Dotson. According to a tweet by a member of the football team, the Purple Tigers dedicated their season to Dotson, and the student section plans to have a “red out” during Friday night’s game against Westmoreland.
Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore said the incident on Old Hickory Lake happened Saturday at about 2:30 p.m., and divers found the Dotson’s body at about 6 p.m. He said Dotson tried to swim to a buoy beyond the swim area, and there was a change in water depth where he went under and was unable to surface.
Wilson County sheriff’s boat patrol and Wilson Emergency Management Agency water rescue crews searched for Dotson on Saturday afternoon in Mt. Juliet.
WEMA director Joey Cooper said divers were called to the boat ramp to search for the teen. Moore said it’s believed no foul play was involved.
Cedar Creek Boat Ramp is at 9264 Saundersville Road in Mt. Juliet. Old Hickory Lake is part of the Cumberland River.