Funeral held for teen who drowned in New Jersey pond

NEW MILFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Family, friends and mourners gathered Monday morning to say a final farewell to an 18-year-old New Jersey high school senior who drowned last week.

Funeral services for Clinten Ajit were held at St. Peter's Mar Thoma Church on Ridgewood Road in Washington Township, with burial following at Westwood Cemetery.

"God never sees his children die," one speaker said at the service. "He simply sees them come home."

The New Milford High School student drowned in Hardcastle Pond Friday, while trying to retrieve a soccer ball for kids playing nearby.

ALSO READ | Fire claims lives of FDNY firefighter, 1 other in Brooklyn
EMBED More News Videos

Derick Waller reports the structural remains of the gutted two-story home are expected to be demolished later Monday.

"My brother and I had a bond that was unbreakable, and that bond is still there," his brother Chris said during the service. "My brother was someone who was quiet but had so much energy inside of him."

The somber service brought out family members, friends, and members of the church where Ajit worshipped.

"It's a heartbreaking experience, and I don't have any words to console you all," the celebrant said. "God can only give peace in your mind."

Ajit's memory will now live on in the hearts and minds of the people who loved him so much.

"There's no words that can describe the pain that this family has gone through right now," New Milford Mayor Michael Putrino said. "Our hearts are broken, our community, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and also the siblings in school district. So our town will be praying for that family."

Ajit was born in Kerala, India, and came to the U.S. with his family at a young age.

A memorial with flowers has been set up at the pond.

ALSO READ | 7 On Your Side Investigates subway crime: How likely are you to become a victim?
EMBED More News Videos

7 On Your Side Investigates has more on subway crime trends across New York City.

He was described as a well-liked student who played trombone in the school band.

A GoFundMe page that has raised more $70,000 for the family said Ajit enjoyed participating in musical theater, band, and various sports.

"Clinten was an intelligent, humorous, and kind young man," it reads. "He was looking forward to attending college at Montclair State University to study criminal justice...Please continue to keep the family in your humble prayers."

Grief counselors are available at New Milford High School.

* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.