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Wake Held For Harlem Teen Who Drowned At Sweet 16 Party In NJ

Damell Mickens (credit: Handout via Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Damell Mickens (credit: Handout via Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A wake was held Thursday for a 17-year-old from Harlem who died last week at a Sweet 16 party in New Jersey.

Grieving friends and family are still seeking answers as to how Damell Mickens drowned in an indoor pool at a home in West Milford.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

The high school senior was among dozens of teenagers who were bused from New York City last Saturday for a party being thrown by Hector Rojas. He was putting on the bash for the daughter of a business partner.

Family members are blaming a lack of adult supervision for Mickens’ death. They say he was a good kid with a bright future.

“He wanted to finish school, he wanted to go to college,” said his aunt Karen Mickens. “He wanted to be somebody.”

“It’s really sad. Somebody I basically grew up with is gone,” said former classmate Yadhira Cordero. “I’m going to remember that joyful kid that used to just joke around with everybody, make everyone happy.”

The wake was from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Ortiz Funeral Home. Mickens’ funeral is set to be held Friday morning.