Chicago woman drowns in Florida resort lake

March 21, 2011 6:58:35 AM PDT
A college student athlete from Chicago has been found dead in central Florida.

Jasmine Crenshaw was visiting there with her college track team for a couple of meets.

She went for a swim Saturday night and disappeared. Her body was found in a lake at a resort in Claremont, Fla., which is to the west of Orlando.

Jasmine Crenshaw's family says the 22-year-old college student knew how to swim.

Now the Crenshaws want answers on how Jasmine could have drowned.

She was a 2007 graduate of Hyde Park Career Academy. "Smart" and "very athletic" is how the track star's family describes her.

Jackie Crenshaw was so proud of her daughter Jasmine -- she was the first to go to college in her family.

"Everybody loved Jasmine. She always had a smile on her face, she made everybody happy she loved going to school, she loved sports," Jasmine's mother Jackie Crenshaw said.

Jasmime ran track for Central State University in Ohio. Despite the distance, Crenshaw talked to her daughter on the phone twice every day -- once in the morning and again before bed.

But on Saturday night, Crenshaw never heard from Jasmine. Instead, this South Side mother received a call from her daughter's college track coach.

"He said, 'There's been an accident. All of the kids came out of the water except Jasmine,'" Jackie Crenshaw said.

After an extensive search, the college junior was found dead 15 feet from shore in 8 feet of water. Police say she drowned in a lake at Summer Bay Resort in Claremont, Fla.

Jasmine had traveled from school in Ohio to Florida to compete in two track meets. The team was staying at the resort.

"The female was wearing a bathing suit and swim goggles, so it leads us to believe that she just went in for a swim," said Lt. John Herreau, Lake County Florida Sheriff's Department. "At this point in time, there are no outward or obvious signs of foul play."

Her family says Jasmine just learned how to swim last year after watching several news stories of Chicago kids drowning over the summer.

"She said, 'I'm going to learn how to swim because don't want to drown.' So I don't understand how this could have happened," said the victim's younger sister Tiara Crenshaw.

"I am sure somebody noticed her. Why would they wait for everyone to come out of the water and say she is not here?" Jackie Crenshaw said.

But for now, the pain of losing a daughter and sister overtakes figuring out how the accident happened .

"I'm just hurt. That's my best friend. I need my sister," Tiara Crenshaw said.

"We're trying to get through it the best possible way we can. It's hard right now, but we'll get through it as a family," said the victim's older brother Michael Crenshaw.

She was majoring in criminal justice. Her mother says her daughter's goal was to become a police officer. At Central State University, she excelled academically and athletically. On the track team, she ran the 400 and 200 meter dash.

The university is planning a memorial service for Jasmine Crenshaw Monday night.