Mother, 2 kids found dead in pond

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 17:35:00-05

IMMOKALEE, FL (WBBH/CNN) - A woman and two children died after their vehicle went into a pond late Saturday.

The community they left behind is trying to come to terms with the shocking loss.

Deputies responded to the scene shortly before 11:30 p.m.

Troopers said Shatoria Michelle Brown was driving eastbound on Eden Avenue, approaching Apple Street, when she drove across Apple and into the water.

Brown, 27, was found outside the car in the water Sunday morning after an extensive search by air, land and water.

Two of Brown's children, Ra'Majesty Johnson, 5, and Ra'Layah Johnson, 3, were found inside Brown's Chrysler Pacifica. 

Ra'Layah was pulled out and taken to North Collier Hospital, but they couldn't save her. Ra'Majesty was declared dead at the scene.

Family and friends screamed in agony after learning their loved ones were gone. They were so overcome with emotion, they could barely stand.

"This is a surprise to all of us. None of us know what happened," said Doris Smith, a family friend. "It's just a tragedy to all of us and the family."

Deputies said there was a report late Saturday that someone was calling for help from the water.

Police reported that alcohol or drugs were not a factor in the crash. Officials are investigating what caused the car to drive into the water.

Smith was among distraught family and friends who gathered at the scene Sunday morning, trying to make sense of the loss.

"I can go on and on and on to say such great things about her. We love her so much, and we miss her. She's going to be truly missed," she said.

Smith remembered Brown as a loving mother.

"It was just the beginning of their life, and it had been all taken away from them. For what reason? We have no idea," she said.

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