Breathitt County Boy Found Dead In Oil Pit

A Chavies Elementary fifth grader is dead after an apparent accidental drowning Friday afternoon.

The Perry County deputy coroner says 11 year old Josh Williams was found in an oil pit on family property. School officials say the boy's family searched more than 30 minutes for the boy.

Teachers at Chavies remember 11 year old Josh Williams for his smile. Though the details of his death are still unclear, staff at Williams' school say they've always enjoyed his hardworking attitude and his laughter, things that will be missing from classrooms Monday morning.

Josh Williams' smile lives on through pictures. Surrounded by classmates and friends, the community says Josh was a joy to be around.

"It's a close knit community and everybody knows everybody in that community and that school and it will be a sad time there Monday," said Perry County School Superintendent John Paul Amis.

Josh's third grade teacher remembers seeing him just last week smiling as he boarded the school bus.

"Josh was a real nice kid, you always saw a smile on his face. He really got along well with other kids and the teachers, just a super kid," said Chavis Elementary Principal Eddie Browning.

"Real popular young man, well thought of by the staff and students of that school. It's a tragedy for that school and our school community," Amis said.

Teachers say he loved science and anything he could do outdoors. Josh was proud of his bicycle, four-wheeler, and new motorcycle he could turn on with a key.

"When a tragic time like this comes about, just keep everybody in your prayers. Keep you family close to you," Browning said.

School officials say grief counselors will be available first thing Monday morning for both students and staff.

"With the students, it will be a real tough day on all those people at Chavies Elementary Monday and a tough day for the entire school system," Amis said.

Officials believe Josh drowned in the oil pit that was filled with either oil or water, but autopsy results from Frankfort are still pending.

Josh Williams' visitation will be Monday night from six until nine at the Engle-Walker Funeral Home in Hazard. Funeral services will be Tuesday afternoon at one, also at the funeral home.

KSP issued the following in a news release Monday morning:

On 02/22/08 at approximately 2:30 p.m. Kentucky State Police received a 911transfer call from Perry County 911 Center reference a young male unresponsive in the Barwick Community of Breathitt County.

The caller advised she had found her 11year old brother Joshua Williams unresponsive in an oil-changing pit in the garage.

Emergency personnel were contacted and the victim was transported to the Hazard ARH where he was pronounced deceased by Dr. Bart Francis. The victim was sent to the State Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy. No foul play is suspected at this time and the investigation is continuing by Det. Doug Gay.

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