Holdsworth Park in Sanford on Monday, where two teenage stepbrothers are believed to have drowned. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Two stepbrothers died in a Sanford recreation area on Sunday in a suspected drowning, police said.

Sanford police refused to identify the teens, citing their age, but Sanford School Department Superintendent Matthew Nelson confirmed Monday that the boys were Tavayne Weir, 17, a rising senior at Sanford High School, and his stepbrother, 16-year-old Diandre Graham, who does not attend Sanford schools.

“We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need,” Nelson wrote in a letter to parents.

He said counseling will be available for all students and staff at Sanford High School on Tuesday from noon-2 p.m.

Police said they were notified around 11 p.m. Sunday that the boys had not returned home by their curfew.

The boys told their parents they were going to Holdsworth Park around 4 p.m., but it was unclear whether they went directly to the recreation area or how long they were there, Sanford police Maj. Matthew Gagne said Monday.


Police and fire officials responded to the park and found the vehicle the teens were believed to have driven in, officials said. Crews began searching the park’s trail system and waterways.
Searchers located the boys’ bodies in the Mousam River around 12:30 a.m. Monday, Gagne said. Both teens died from suspected drowning, officials said.

“Where they went in and what time they went in is an unknown at this point,” he said.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner will perform autopsies to determine the cause and manner of death as part of the ongoing investigation with Sanford police.

Holdsworth Park in Sanford on Monday, where teenage stepbrothers are suspected to have drowned. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Sanford resident Nate Stephens, 30, who went to Holdsworth Park to swim Monday morning, said drownings are unusual in Sanford.

“This basically is just a regular area,” Stephens said. “It’s been like that since I was a kid.”

While police don’t know exactly where the drowning happened, Stephens said he wouldn’t be surprised if it occurred down the trail at Indian’s Last Leap, an overlook on Mousam River where he said people dive into the water from the rocks.


Michael Emard, 57, of Sanford, said he walks his dog around Holdsworth Park often. In the woods, he passes by a memorial for a boy named Aiden who died near Indian’s Last Leap, but he wasn’t sure what happened to these two teens.

“It’s a heartbreaking thing for sure,” Emard said. “Everybody’s gotta feel for that, for the family especially.”

Graham and Weir were the second and third suspected drownings in Maine over the holiday weekend. Authorities believe that Edward Berke, from New Hampshire, fell off a boat headed from Chebeague Island to a South Portland marina on the Fourth of July. The Coast Guard suspended the search on Friday after determining it would not be possible to find Berke alive.

Staff Writer Kay Neufeld contributed to this report.

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