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FAMILY LEFT TO WRESTLE WITH BOY'S DROWNING

May 18, 1998

Tyler Hackett was buried Thursday. Only 11 years old, the Scottsdale boy drowned in Bartlett Lake on Mother's Day. His family, including twin brother Justin, was left to try and ponder his untimely passing.

"They'll never recover," said Roger Hackett. Tyler's uncle. "There is no greater loss. This is such a very special family. Tyler was a twin, and together the two made a whole. Now there's only half."

Aztec Elementary Principal Huck Fitterer said Tyler was an avid basketball player and solid student.

"Tyler put his personal best into everything," he said. "That's just the type of student he was. He was a gentleman, very caring, and he had such joy for life."

Funeral services for Tyler were held at Messinger's Mortuary in Scottsdale. Roger Hackett said the family has not yet made a decision regarding any memorial funds in the boy's name.

The tragedy involving Tyler took place May 10 when he, Justin and two classmates were sitting on a swimming platform attached to the back of the family's ski boat.

"They were stopped and just enjoying the water," Roger Hackett said. "But a wake hit the boat and filled his mouth with water, which took him down."

Dave Moyer of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said fumes from the boat's engine might also have caused Tyler to become asphyxiated and slip into the water.

Moyer said police are still investigating the accident.

Tyler was not wearing a life preserver. His body was found by searchers Monday morning.

Arizona law requires children 12 and under to wear a life jacket while in a boat or in the water. Moyer said officials haven't determined whether Tyler's father, Richard, who was driving the boat, will be charged.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By John Nemo
©Copyright 1999 Arizona Republic

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