Military Parents to Return After Son Drowns

Patriotic condolences pour in

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By Monique Williams

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. (WOLO) -- The military parents of a Midlands teenager are on their way back home after being informed their son, on Father's Day, presumably drowned in Lake Murray.

Michael and Jennifer Peeples, both decorated veterans in the South Carolina Army National Guard, are being forced out of the Middle East due to the presumed drowning death of their son, Waeland. The incident occurred Sunday at the SCE&G boat ramp at Lake Murray.

A photo of 17-year-old Waeland Peeples, a family friend shared with ABC Columbia News, where he is seen wearing the ball cap and shades, is the last one he would take with his father. The teen's final moments unfolded underwater on Lake Murray Sunday when he and three friends attempted to dock the 21-foot pontoon boat they were in. To make matters worse, the teen's parents were serving in Afghanistan at the time of his death.

"Two boys jumped off to swim to the dock and began having problems. As they struggled a woman on another boat tossed a life jacket. One of the boys got it and tried to save his friend but he was gone," said Capt. Robert McCullough with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Today, the Peeples residence was filled with friends, visitors, well wishers; a white wreath dons the door.

A spokesperson for the family says Waeland's older brother was also scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan; however, that deployment has been postponed.

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