Two teens mourned after apparent drowning in Dane County lake
Keller Russell reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
PLEASANT SPRINGS- A somber start to summer break as two teenage girls died after going swimming in a lake near Madison.
Family, friends and a community are heartbroken.
Friday was the first day of summer break for students at Stoughton High School, but there were no celebrations.
Instead, tears flowed as students gathered here at LaFollette County Park as word spread that the bodies of the two missing teens had been found.
The popular swimming area is forever changed for those who love it.
After a day and a half of searching, divers found Stoughton High School sophomores Emma Maurer and Sydnie Kwiatkowski's bodies in the water Friday.
"Within feet of the location again of where they both were swimming," said Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney.
The two disappeared Thursday afternoon while swimming in a shallow area near LaFollette County Park. Both were 16. The Dane County sheriff says it appears they drowned.
"This brings a tragic end to a two day struggle. A struggle that's touched this community deeply (choking up)," said Mahoney.
That struggle was evident as news of the girl's death spread Friday -- collapsing some of their strength to stand.
Jordan Smith was on the school swim team with Emma, she told TODAY'S TMJ4, "Emma was an incredible swimmer. We swam together. Sweet girl."
She and others can't understand what could have possibly went wrong to cut two young lives so short.
"I'm just so torn apart. I feel so bad for their families," said Smith.
People were coming in and out of the park all afternoon and evening to see the area for themselves, many bringing flowers to leave at the beach.
The sheriff says at this point -- all signs point to an accidental drowning.
An autopsy will be done on both girls Saturday.