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Pleasantville man drowns in Hamilton quarry

A Pleasantville man drowned Monday night, trying to swim to a sandbar in a Hamilton Township quarry, police said.
Several people were at the quarry off Thelma Avenue, when Lenyn Mercedes-Payamps, 23, started to falter in the water, witnesses said. A friend tried to rescue him, but was unsuccessful.
Police were called to the scene at 6:18 p.m., and members of the Hamilton and Brigantine dive teams searched the area with help from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew, Hamilton Township Emergency Management and Rescue Squad, AtlantiCare paramedics and firefighters from several departments.
After three hours, Mercedes-Payamps body was found.
“This is a loss for the whole county,” Larissa Gonzalez said of her friend, known as Lenny. “His spirit is going to live with me forever.”
She said his life wasn’t always easy, but Mercedes-Payamps “was one of the most positive people I have ever met.”
Just hours before his death, he would post his last Facebook status, which would be fitting for those he left behind.

“I’m just praying for my friends,” he wrote at 4:08 a.m. Monday, “please be strong in times when it’s ok to be weak.”
Gonzalez said the words proved to her “that he was an angel.”
“He always had the right words every time,” she said. “It’s crazy.”

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