More than 200 people gathered at Cesar Chavez Park in Laveen Village on Friday evening to remember and mourn the death of 15-year-old Christopher Hampton, who was found dead in Show Low Lake on Tuesday.
Hampton, a student and football player at Cesar Chavez High School, was at summer camp with his team in the White Mountains at Lakeside Blue Ridge High and decided to go to the lake at the neighboring town on Monday when he went missing.
The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies searched for Hampton and eventually called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office dive team, which arrived Tuesday morning.
MCSO said the team it sent deployed its remotely-operated vehicle unit upon request, which ultimately found and recovered Hampton’s body.
Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse thanked the team for aiding in the investigation.
“I am very grateful for the partnership and critical support that was provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Clouse wrote. “This was a tragic situation overall, but I am glad we were able to bring closure to the family and we couldn’t have done this without the assistance of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team.”
Vigil attendees at one point released dozens of purple and silver balloons — the colors of Cesar Chavez High School — into the air and later lit candles for Hampton as the sun began to set.
Various teammates of Hampton’s recalled the bonds they formed with him at school and practices.
One recalled the infectious smile Hampton often wore while another said it was impossible not to become friends with him.
A woman saying she was a former elementary school teacher of Hampton’s described him as an energetic boy who always found a way to accomplish his goals.
Sharonda Johnson, Hampton’s aunt, echoed the sentiments of his friends and teammates.
“To know Chris is to love Chris,” Johnson said.
Johnson said her family deserved answers and closure as to how her athletic nephew wound up dead in a lake and urged anyone with information to share it with the authorities.
“If you know something, say something,” Johnson said.
Johnson stipulated that she didn’t want anyone to take matters into their own hands, but rather let law enforcement seek justice for her nephew.
The investigation into Hampton’s death remains ongoing as of Friday. It was not immediately clear whether the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office had any suspects or persons of interest.