Counselors aid Hagg Lake teen drowning victims’ peers

Evergreen Middle School student Michael Garcia-Ixtacua died

Michael Garcia-Ixtacua, pictured on right, was one of the four people who drowned in Henry Hagg Lake on Monday, August 26, 2014. (KOIN 6/Hillsboro School District)
Michael Garcia-Ixtacua, pictured on right, was one of the four people who drowned in Henry Hagg Lake on Monday, August 26, 2014. (KOIN 6/Hillsboro School District)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A team of counselors is available at a Hillsboro middle school to help students and staff members grieving the loss of a 13-year-old boy who drowned.

Michael Garcia-Ixtacua was one of four family members who drowned Monday at Henry Hagg Lake, a popular swimming spot west of Portland.

Evergreen Middle School principal Rian Petrick said the counselors were to be on hand until 3 p.m. Wednesday, and support will also be available when students return next week for the new school year.

Michael was getting ready to start the 8th grade.

His mother, sister and nephew also died Monday. No one saw what happened, and law enforcement officials said they found no sign of foul play.

The lake reopened Wednesday.

A memorial fund for the family has been established. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank to the “Garcia Memorial Fund.”

County statement

In a statement, Washington County Communications Officer Philip Bransford said:

“We are truly saddened by the four deaths that occurred on Hagg Lake this week. Our hearts go out to the families affected by this loss.

“Washington County takes safety seriously with respect to public use of Hagg Lake and Scoggins Valley Park.

“We work closely with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Gaston Rural Fire District and Hillsboro Fire & Rescue to promote safe practices on Hagg Lake, including the free use of life vests stationed on the banks of the lake.

“While the matter is still under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office we will not be able to comment further.”

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.

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