Community mourns drowning of Blair teen

Joel Joseph Martin graduated from Fairfield Central High School on June 1, 2024. | Photo: Fairfield Central High School

FAIRFIELD COUNTY – A swim party held at Lake Monticello on Saturday, June 8, to celebrate two individuals planning to leave soon for the U. S. Navy ended in tragedy when one of the individuals drowned.

Joel Joseph Martin, age 18, of Blair, SC, was swimming at Lake Monticello with other individuals when he went under water and did not resurface, according to Fairfield County Coroner Chris Hill.

Emergency crews, the Department of Natural Resources, and dive teams were called to the area. After a little over two hours, Martin’s body was found and brought out of the water by the Fairfield Rescue Squad, according to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s office. 

Martin graduated from Fairfield Central High School just one week earlier, on June 1, 2024.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of a 2024 Griffin Graduate, Mr. Joel Martin,” Fairfield Central posted on social media on Monday afternoon. “Please keep his family and friends as well as his Griffin Family in your thoughts & prayers! May we ALWAYS remember and cherish his personality that would light up any room!”

“My heart is heavy,” Fairfield Central principal Dr. Tracie Swilley tweeted on Monday, “but I will definitely cherish our memories and ALL the pranks/jokes he tried on me!”

“Joel will be remembered fondly,” Fairfield County School District’s Facebook page shared, “and his impact on those around him will be cherished forever.”

An autopsy has been scheduled and the incident remains under investigation by the Fairfield County Coroner’s Office and the SC Department of Natural Resources.

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