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Mother of teen who drowned in quarry: “I know my son was loved”

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — The mother of a teen who drowned while swimming in an eastern Rowan County quarry is touched by the outpouring of love for her son.

Marissa Tandy’s son, Shavice, was swimming at Balfour Quarry with three other friends on Sunday when he tried to swim across the quarry, became tired and went underwater. He did not resurface. His body was recovered by divers less than two hours after he was last seen.

Rowan authorities say the teen and three others were jumping from a rock ledge and had been swimming at the quarry, which is private property.

Marissa, a single mother of two, said she was heading to church when she was told of her son’s drowning. She’d left her cell phone at home, but figured she’d be fine without it. She eventually returned to get it and had a lot of messages, some from unknown numbers.

“As I was sitting there wondering what was going on, I got another call,” she said.

The call was from one of Shavice’s friends.

“He said, ‘he drowned,’ ” Marissa said.

She didn’t wait for any explanation or any further details. Marissa hung up the phone and immediately headed straight for the hospital.

“I flew to the hospital. I was praying to the Lord that he would take care of my son,” Marissa said.

She thought to herself maybe Shavice was on life support. She never imagined he was already dead.

When she arrived at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center she was met by one of her son’s friends. He actually moved her car when she was asked by security to park elsewhere. Marissa rushed in and was told by staff that her son did not make it.

Prior to their announcement, “I had no idea my baby was gone,” she said.

It was the worst day of Marissa Tandy’s life. She still has no words to describe the heartache she felt then and now.

Her mother and father and other family soon joined her at the hospital.

She’d told her son not to go to the quarry.

“I said it’s so dangerous. If anything happens there’s no one there to help you,” she said.

When left with her thoughts, Marissa reflects on the kind of person her son was and the people he touched.

“It means a lot to know my son was loved, at a time like this, it really means a lot. It shows the life that he lived,” she said.

Shavice had only been at East Rowan High for a year, but had many friends, she said.

Before East Rowan, he was a student at Durham School for the Arts from sixth grade to 10th grade, where he focused on music and basketball. He played the flute, his mother said, because he thought it was cool. He loved basketball, a sport which he’d played his whole life. He also played for an AAU league — Carolina Courts in Concord.

Despite living in a rough neighborhood in Durham, Marissa said, Shavice focused on school.

The family, which includes her 18-year-old son, moved to the area to be closer to family.
As to her son, Marissa said, Shavice was a joke teller and the “life of the party.”

“He lit up any room with his personality. That’s what made him popular,” she said.

There was never a dull moment with Shavice and he was “always full of life,” Marissa said.

She said Shavice’s favorite saying was “everything was going to be alright.”

If he were with her, Marissa said, he’d tell her to “fix your face mom,” she said after crying.

She then chuckled at how he’d probably be making her laugh at that very moment.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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