The family of a Massachusetts teenager who died after being found unresponsive in a swimming pool following a graduation party is calling for answers in his death.
Authorities say 17-year-old Alonzo Polk, of Dedham, was found submerged in an in-ground backyard pool at a friend's home on Netta Road last weekend and died a few days later at a Boston hospital.
“He just graduated from high school hours earlier. Invited to this party, went to this party and didn’t come back. And no one is saying nothing to us,” Polk's dad said.
Dedham police said they were informed Friday by the chief medical examiner that Polk had died.
"We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Alonzo who have been impacted by this tragic loss of life," a Dedham police statement read. "We ask that the privacy of Alonzo's family and friends be respected as they grieve the sudden and heartbreaking loss of their loved one."
Polk's family and friends gathered for a vigil and unity march Sunday evening where hundreds walked through a Dedham neighborhood from Polk's home to the house where he was found in the pool a few blocks away. They were chanting "justice for AP!", carrying signs that read "Justice for Alonzo," and wearing t-shirts that said "A.P. STRONG."
Family members also stopped to light candles in front of the home where Polk was pulled from the pool before the march ended at a nearby park where more prayers were said, and the community grieved a young man lost too soon.
Property records confirm the home at the address is owned by James Coughlin, who retired from the Massachusetts State Police in 2017, according to state payroll records.
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Polk had graduated with honors from Dedham High School last week, family members told NBC10 Boston. He attended a graduation party at the Netta Road residence with friends that night, and his family received a call Sunday that something had happened.
Those family members said they are demanding answers from the Dedham Police Department and the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office.
“They’ve yet to talk about this case, they’ve yet to talk about these people they’ve yet to mention a name, we know this is a retired state trooper's home, what are they going to do about that?," Polk's brother Shawn Drane said. "You’re in a position to protect and serve, what about prevention? You’re supposed to prevent something like this from happening.”
“I want justice for my son. Everyone else’s kids are here and my son is gone, you don’t know how I feel," Polk's mom Debra Rowell said. "I need answers and I want them now, I need justice for my baby, everybody else I see walk by here and I don’t see my son, it’s killing me, I need my baby and I’m never going to see him again, I need my baby.”
The Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, with the assistance of the Dedham Police Department, is conducting a comprehensive review of the circumstances associated with Polk's death, police said.
An autopsy and toxicology are being done by the medical examiner.
Dedham police have filed criminal complaints of furnishing alcohol to minors and reckless endangerment of a child in connection with the incident.
The DA’s office says there will now be a clerk’s hearing to determine if the complaints will be forwarded to the judge and DA’s office for arraignment.
They say the court does not consider the application public but considers the complaint, once issued, public.
In a message to parents, Dedham Public Schools said Polk was a graduating senior this year.
“Alonzo will be remembered as a kind, personable student, teammate and friend," the district said. "Alonzo always gave his best and was someone who invariably left others smiling during their interactions. He was a pleasure to know because of his positive attitude and will to succeed.”
Polk had several scholarships, but family members say he hadn't decided his next step. He played football and basketball in high school, and he had an interest in engineering.
Polk was going to turn 18 this week.
“His birthday is this upcoming Thursday, Thursday the 17th, and he was so looking forward to it, looking forward to buying a lottery ticket,” Polk's friend Rochelle Casey said.