Community gathers to mourn boy who died in Wauconda lake boating incident

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WAUCONDA, Ill. — A community came together Wednesday as they continue to mourn the loss of a 9-year-old boy who drowned in a suburban lake last week.

Geraldo Rodriguez, 9, died over the weekend in a paddleboat incident at Bangs Lake in Wauconda.

About 100 people gathered Wednesday to honor his memory.

He and a friend, 11-year-old Marquis Montez, took a paddle boat into the water Friday night. When the boat rocked, the boys got scared and jumped in the water thinking they could swim to shore. The water was 45 degrees — cold enough for hypothermia to set in within minutes.

Fishermen were able to save Marquis, but Geraldo went under. Dive crews searched for several hours Friday night and recovered the boy’s body around noon Saturday.

Relatives said family flew in from Florida for a party. Geraldo was set to celebrate his 10th birthday alongside family and friends Saturday.

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