Father presumed drowned after swimming out to help teens
By Mark Bickle and Dick Berry| September 8, 2014 at 3:36 PM EST - Updated July 21 at 12:21 AM
MONROE COUNTY, MI (Toledo News Now) - A man is presumed to have drowned in Lake Erie in Monroe County after swimming out to help his son and another teen.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says on Sunday morning a father and two children were seen struggling in the water near the Whiting Consumers Energy Power Plant in Erie Township.
A rescue boat from the Lasalle Township Fire Department was able to safely recover the two children but was unable to locate the father.
The man has been identified as Juan A. Layva, age 34, of Detroit.
Sheriffs say Mr. Layva, his two children, ages 12 and 13, and another adult male were on a fishing trip to the lake.
At some point the children began swimming in the lake but were having trouble returning to shore. Mr. Layva swam out to help them but began having trouble himself.
There is a strong current in the area from a discharge pipe.
A sign in the area of the drowning has a stern warning for would-be swimmers. It sits above the discharge pipe and reads, "People die here. Don't swim or wade in the area."
"It's big enough you can see it and people come out here to fish and then go swimming. You get sucked between the currents. They'll take you out in the lake, " said Monroe County resident, Tim Massingill.
People in the area say a fisherman drowned in the area just two years ago.
There have been other deaths.
"People go out there and fish and caught on the edge. They'll slip on a fine rock and get sucked in from the discharge," said area resident David Rupert.
At one point, seven rescue boats and two helicopters were on the scene searching the water for Mr. Layva.
A dive team was also searching for Mr. Layva.
Anyone with information is asked to call 734-243-7070.