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Family tragedy | Woman mourns loss of daughter who drowned as her own mother remains in hospital

As Stephanie Walker remains in critical condition, her family is mourning the loss of 13-year-old Kayla Prather who died in the incident.

TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — A 47-year-old woman who tried to save her granddaughter in a drowning accident over the weekend is still in the hospital, according to her family. As Stephanie Walker remains in critical condition, her family is mourning the loss of 13-year-old Makayla (Kayla) Prather who died in the incident.

Kayla's mom, Shawanda Prather, said she's still in shock about what happened. It was Shawanda's mother - Stephanie - who tried to save her child.

Shawanda said her daughter enjoyed adventures. It didn’t surprise her when her daughter and mom decide to take a trip to West Point Lake. What did surprise her- was a phone call.

“Turn around and come back because there’s been an incident in West Point, possibly involving my mom and my daughter," she recalls being told. 

Her mom was already at the hospital, but Kayla was still missing.

Credit: Family
Stephanie Walker and Kayla Prather

RELATED: Teen drowns, woman in critical condition after being rescued at West Point Lake

The Troup County Sheriff's Office said deputies were sent to the lake, near Lower Glass Bridge Road, just before 2 p.m. Saturday, along with Troup County Fire Department and Troup County AMR in regards to a possible drowning involving two people. Once there, they said they found the unresponsive woman and she was taken to the hospital. 

Deputies said they searched for the 13-year-old by a boat, along with the Department of Natural Resources. Eventually, a dive team from Columbus Fire and Rescue was brought in around 5 p.m. to assist. Two and a half hours later, the teen's body was recovered by the dive teams, according to deputies.

Deputies also described the circumstances as "a tragic accident." It was first responders, who told Shawanda that her mother tried to save Kayla. 

“My mom can’t swim. So, the fact that if she jumped in the water, trying to save my daughter, I know she was brave," she said. 

Stephanie's kidneys are shutting down and the family said she is also "brain dead.”

It’s a lot to lose her daughter - and possibly her mother. Travis, Kayla’s stepfather, is still trying to wrap his head around it all.

"She was my world. She was my heart. And it hurt me so bad but I know God has a plan," he said.

As they prepare to bury Kayla, Shawanda’s three other young children remain the reason she’s coping with her pain.

The family is preparing to decide if they will take Kayla’s grandmother off of life support. An online fundraiser has already been set up for the teen's funeral expenses. 


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