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Virginia vacation tragedy: Community mourns father and son who died in lake on Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 10:59 AM, May 28, 2024

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- Friends and family identified a Pennsylvania father and son as the man and child who drowned in Lake Anna in Virginia over Memorial Day weekend.

The father and son were identified by family as 42-year-old Matthew Atchley and his 14-year-old son Tyler.

Cousin Heidi Johnson said the Atchley family was in Virginia at a graduation celebration.

"They were on vacation, having some family fun, now all this," Johnson said. "It's horrible."

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Matthew and Tyler Atchley

"While on vacation at Lake Anna in Virginia, Tyler started to drown. Matt jumped into the lake to save his son. Ultimately, both of them lost their lives. Multiple people tried to help them but were unable. These 2 beautiful souls were taken from their family way too soon," family friend Sabrina Griffin-Myers wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Watch: Father attempted to save son before both drowning on Lake Anna

Police: Father attempted to save son before both drowning on Lake Anna

The drownings were reported Saturday at about 1 p.m. near Carrs Bridge Road.

The Louisa County Sheriff's Office said they received a report that a 14-year-old boy was drowning.

Officials said while emergency crews were on the way, the child's father attempted to find and save his son.

Witnesses told law enforcement they saw the father struggling before losing sight of him.

Both bodies were later recovered by rescue teams.

Tyler was an 8th grader who loved to wrestled. His coach told CBS 6 he was talented athlete and teammate.

Johnson said Matt was known for being a family man involved in his church.

"Matt and Tyler were both amazing people. They were both very humble people," Johnson said.

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Matthew and Tyler Atchley

Louisa County Sheriff's Office does not suspect foul play in the deaths.

Rescue teams confirmed with CBS6 that the area where the drowning took place did not have strong currents, and was considered on the more private side of the lake.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office at 540-967-1234 or Louisa Crime Solvers at 800-346-1466.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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