Trimble Tech senior's body found in Benbrook Lake

BENBROOK LAKE -- Divers found the body of a Trimble Tech High School senior Thursday morning near where he was last seen calling for help about 2 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

The parents of Christopher Fonseca were at the lake when searchers found his body about 9:30 a.m., said Lt. Jennifer Kemp, a game warden.

Later Thursday, Tech students and other friends crowded into the family's east Fort Worth home to offer condolences.

"It was a very sad day," Tech Principal Manuel Cantu said. "Several students spoke to counselors."

Fonseca's mother, Martha Tapia, spoke to reporters with a younger son, Axel, 12, interpreting for her.

"He is in heaven with Jesus," she said. "You gave him to us, and now you took him. Who knows why?"

Fonseca would have celebrated his 18th birthday on May 15, which is also the night of the senior prom, Axel Fonseca said.

The Rev. Kyev Tatum, who was helping Fonseca with his college application, said the teen wanted to attend the University of North Texas in Denton and earn a degree in criminal justice so that he could become police officer.

"He wanted to go into a profession to help people and protect and serve people," Tatum said. "He was the son every father wanted and the son every mother would be proud of."

The drowning

Witnesses said Fonseca, who was with a group of friends, had tried to swim across a cove near the 6100 block of Rocky Creek Park Road.

Martin Lugo, one of the students with the group, said it looked as though Fonseca "cramped up and couldn't swim anymore."

"He bobbed up and down three times and then he didn't come up again," Lugo said.

School district spokesman Clint Bond said seniors who have passed all portions of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills are not required to be on campus while other students are taking the tests, which they were doing on Wednesday.

The search

The search Thursday morning included three boats, one with special sonar, said Kemp, a spokeswoman for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens. The sonar directed divers to the body.

The cove can be a dangerous stretch of water, authorities have said, because of severe drop-offs and debris.

Kemp said that she did not know whether the teen was wearing a life jacket but that they are essential gear for any activity on the water.

"We're warning swimmers and boaters alike [that] a life jacket is like a seat belt," Kemp said. "The best way for it to save your life is to wear it.

"A large percentage of the drownings are people who are just out swimming. We really would like to stress that if you wear a life jacket while swimming, if nothing else, it will help you stay afloat."

MITCH MITCHELL, 817-390-7752