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'Holding it together': Family remembers Ocmulgee River drowning victim

18-year-old Kevin Gillens died while swimming in the Ocmulgee River on Tuesday afternoon.

MACON, Ga. — Zhanyah Williams says the last 24 hours have been surreal for her and her family.

"If he could save the whole world, make sure the whole world is okay, he would do that. That's how big his heart was," she said.

She says Tuesday was her younger brother, Kevin Gillens, first time swimming at the Ocmulgee River.

"I said 'if you feel uncomfortable,' because I can't swim, so of course I sat on the rocks, I was like 'I'll just sit on the rocks, because I can't swim, I'm not even gonna chance it' and Kevin was like, he can swim and he wanted to swim to the other side," she said.

Williams says that's when everything changed.

"One minute he's there and the next minute, we didn't see him anymore... and then it was just hours of not knowing, like no one finding his body and we're trying everything we can to look for him," she said.

Crews found Gillens' body hours later, pronouncing him dead just after 8 p.m.

Williams says her brother just became a father five weeks ago.

"His daughter is going to know her father and we'll make sure of that. It just hurts me that he's not going to be able to see his daughter grow up," said Williams.

Shaquinta Card says she found out about Gillens' death on Facebook.

She says she still remembers the first time they met.

"I met Kevin September the 5th, 2014 on the bus sixth grade year," she said. "He always been a good friend, a good family person, anybody needed him, he was there."

Card says Gillens was family and it will be hard to move on without him.

"I'm only holding it together, only holding it together because I know I got to. I gotta be strong," she said.

Williams says Gillens dropped out of high school after the death of their mother, but was planning to enroll at Central Georgia Technical College to get his GED in the fall.

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