Updated 09/10/2012 10:00 PM
Body of Handicapped Student Found in Canal
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Police in Ogden say a BOCES 2 student was found dead Monday afternoon in the Erie Canal.
According to police, 20-year-old Michael Vyvross of Kendall left the building just before 1 p.m. Monday. His body was found a short time later floating in the canal.
Linda Vyvross last saw her son as he began a new school week Monday morning.
"He went on the school bus."
He was riding to BOCES 2 with his younger brother, who is also disabled.
"They just started taking the school bus themselves with the aid and the bus driver."
Before the end of the school day, Linda learned that her 20-year-old son, who she says had the mental capacity of a five year old, drowned in the Erie Canal.
"He didn't know how to speak or think for himself."
Chief Douglas Nordquist of the Ogden Police Department says a passerby pulled Michael Vyvross’ body out of the water and a school nurse attempted CPR. He was later pronounced dead at Unity Hospital.
"At this time, we see no indication of criminal activity. Whether it was accidental or intentional, we don't know at this time,” said Nordquist.
Michael's uncle, John Lotze, says Michael had a hard time walking and questions how he was able to make it several yards to the canal without being seen. His aunt says that Michael's mother had warned the school numerous times to watch him, saying he had the tendency to wander and would not come back on his own.
The school district declined to comment on this other than to issue a statement.
The entire Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES family is mourning the loss of one of our students.
Counselors are available for anyone who may need assistance.
We are doing a full internal investigation of the matter and cannot comment further at this point.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time, and our focus now will be on supporting the family, staff and students however we can.
Michael's family describes a very loving boy who enjoyed watching wrestling.
"He liked watching TV, the Transformers and he loved wrestling and Hulk Hogan."
Linda says raising two disabled children hasn't been easy, but it has been rewarding.
"It's been a hard road but its well worth it."
Michael's mother says he has been enrolled in the BOCES program on and off since he was one years old. Her other disabled son is still attending the school.
The family has set up a website
for donations to help with the funeral and burial costs.
Nordquist says the investigation is ongoing, and police will be reviewing surveillance video from school grounds.