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Shrewsbury 5-year-old and his grandmother drown

Staff report

A grandmother and her grandson drowned on Friday, July 20, at the Lowell Lake State Park lake access area in Londonderry, Vermont State Police reported.

Julie Lawrence, 56, rushed into the water to help her 5-year-old grandson, Jaxon Lawrence, who had fallen into the water from a flotation device, according to the police report.

By the time rescuers arrived, both Lawrence and her grandson were found unresponsive in the water.

Julie Lawrence, of Manchester Center, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jaxon Lawrence, of Shrewsbury, was rushed to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He was pronounced dead on Sunday, police reported.

Jaxon Lawrence’s 9-year-old brother was also present at the lake and tried to save his brother but after unsuccessful attempts swam to shore to get help. He was unhurt.

Detective Sgt. Eric Albright, the lead investigator on the case, said he is waiting to learn from medical examiners whether a “medical emergency” caused either death.

Neither Julie Lawrence nor Jaxon Lawrence was wearing life jackets, according to police.

Authorities found Julie Lawrence unresponsive 20 to 40 feet from shore. Jaxon Lawrence was found 10 to 15 feet from shore.

According to an obituary published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 25, Julie Marie Wojtkowski Lawrence settled in Vermont in 2002. She was raised in Pittsfield, Mass., graduated from Boston College, enlisted in the Army (where she trained in nursing) and had traveled the world while raising kids with her first husband, Robert Rhodes, who remained in the Army. In Vermont, she continued her nursing career at Rutland Regional Medical Center. She worked as an RN in the ICU, PCU, Emergency Department, and most recently, Diagnostic Imaging. In 2014, she met Brian Lawrence and the two married on July 11, 2015.

Julie Lawrence was a very active person, she enjoyed hiking and snowshoeing with her dogs, kayaking in the summer, and skiing “seriously fast in the winter,” according to the obituary. A celebration of Julie’s life was held Saturday July 28, in Manchester Center, Vt.

No information regarding memorial services for Jaxon were available by press time.

Photo courtesy of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

The boat launch at Lowell Lake State Park.

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