Authorities believe Aydin Stallings drowned Sunday as he swam toward a mud embankment in a pond created by a now-defunct dirt pit, authorities said Monday.
Stallings, 18, had gone swimming there Sunday with friends.
“They were just all out there swimming for the day,” Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said Monday.
The small mud embankment is an estimated 200 yards from the bank of dirt and mud at the old pit off Kiln-Picayune Road in the Kiln community.
“We don’t know if he had a cramp or something,” before he disappeared under the water, Adam said.
Hancock County deputies responded along with dive teams and recovered the teen’s body about 5 hours after he went missing.
The rescue crews and deputies found the other teens stranded on the mud embankment and brought them safely back to shore, Adam said.
On Monday, friends took time out to remember the son and sibling in social media posts and comments they made to the Sun Herald. Aydin attended Hancock High School and described himself as a “country boy” on his TikTok page.
“He was such a kind soul, did everything for everyone (and) always made sure everyone was OK,” Ashlyn Rubinsak told the Sun Herald on Monday. “He had an amazing head on his shoulders to be so young.”
Just a night before Stallings died, Rubinsak said, Aydin asked her to take a picture of him and his girlfriend, Shyla Allen.
She said Aydin wanted the photo taken because they had primarily selfies together. He wanted the picture ahead of the one-year celebration as a couple next month.
She shared the picture she took with the Sun Herald.
Now, she and other friends are grieving the loss of a special man who they say always went out of his way to make them smile and be a good friend.
“Who are we going to make come ride around with us for hours just to do it, go to dinner or go kayaking?” Rubinsak added in a Facebook post.
“Aydin Stallings, you will never know how much you meant to us,” she wrote Sunday. “We loved you like you were part of us, little man. I know you woke up looking out that wall of big glass windows you were talking to me about yesterday.”