‘Don’t go on that lake:’ Grieving mom’s last words to her stepson as second family waits for word
New Jersey State Police called off their search for a missing Budd Lake boy after divers spend hours under the ice. The Schimanski family is still holding vigil, waiting for the body of 15 year old Clyde Schimanski, III to be recovered.
Clyde, Jr., and his former wife Lori stood on the steps of the Budd Lake Chapel, surrounded by friends looking out at the icy lake as the sun set just as the younger Clyde’s girlfriend of three months came up in tears with her parents to hug her boyfriend’s family.
“It’s the first time we’ve met Shelby’s parents,” Schimanksi said. “She had Clyde on the right track. He was going to be a good boy with her around.”
Shelby and her parents came with a small memorial to place by the lake. “Stay Positive” was the message surrounding a picture of the boy who loved to ride motorcross and BMX bikes. They lit a small candle at the base.
“I spoke with him after school. I guess he decided to go out on the lake around 5:30 yesterday. By 6:30 he’d fallen through the ice,” explained Schimanski.
He said police had recovered the body of Clyde’s friend Nick Cianciotto from the shallow lake, believed to be six to eight feet deep.
Two other boys had been with the pair that fell through the ice, but chose to stay off the lake. The father believed his son and Cianciotto rode their bikes out to ice fish. A backpack full of fishing gear was recovered with the first boy’s body.
Clyde’s stepmother, Lynn O’Brien, who had raised the boy since he was 8 years old, was distraught when one son came home and the other did not.
“I tell them all the time, all the time, ‘Don’t go on the lake,’ but Clyde told me I can stand up it’s so shallow.”
Those were the last words she exchanged with her stepson before he fell through thin ice on the Morris County Lake Monday evening.
Acting Morris County Prosecutor Frederic Knapp briefed reporters midday.
“One body has been found. State Police are continuing efforts to locate the second boy.”
Mt. Olive Mayor Robert Greenburg expressed the sentiments of the town. “I have condolences for the family that lost their child today. The entire community grieves with them. I have condolences for the second family and hope their child is found shortly.”
Police were called to the lake about 6 p.m. Monday evening by a local who attempted to rescue the two boys after hearing cries for help. He even saw the glow from a cell phone screen, but cracking ice sent him back to the safety of the shoreline. Locals say the ice on the lake is deceptive.
Amanda Shaw who graduated from Mt. Olive High weighed in on the tragedy. “I do think the boys were mislead. There was an ATV on the lake, people playing hockey and ice skating. They wanted to go and have their own fun they didn’t think it was going to happen to them.”
Betty Marcus, who’s lived at Budd Lake for nearly a decade said there are no safety measures in place, that all those who ice fish or use the lake do so at their own risk. She saw the two boys on bikes Monday having fun, but it gave her a sense of unease. “When I looked out on the lake and saw the birds and the water moving I thought, ‘I wouldn’t be out on the lake.'”