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Dedham teen pulled from pool at graduation party has died

Alonzo Polk, who was pulled from a swimming pool during a Dedham high school graduation party last weekend, has died, police confirmed on Friday.
Alonzo Polk, who was pulled from a swimming pool during a Dedham high school graduation party last weekend, has died, police confirmed on Friday.Instagram

Alonzo Polk, the 17-year-old who was pulled from a pool during a Dedham high school graduation party last weekend, has died after nearly a week in the hospital, his family and police said Friday.

Dedham police Chief Michael d’Entremont confirmed the news via e-mail late Friday morning.

“Sadly, yes we have been informed that Alonzo Polk has passed away,” d’Entremont wrote. “At this time, the death investigation will be undertaken by the District Attorney’s Office.”

Polk’s family also announced his death via Instagram.

“Unfortunately I regret to inform all my families supporters that…my brother Alonzo Polk has passed on,” a relative posted to Instagram on Friday. “Alonzo fought his fight with nothing but courage, strength, and the honor of a warrior!!! He will…and we will always be A.P.STRONG for my brother Alonzo Polk!!! R.I.P. ALONZO POLK.”

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On Thursday, Dedham police had said they were seeking to bring charges against unnamed people stemming from the party at 36 Netta Road, which is owned by former State Police captain James Coughlin, a onetime candidate for Norfolk sheriff.

Coughlin hasn’t responded to Globe inquiries seeking comment.

Police said Thursday that they’ll ask a clerk magistrate to issue misdemeanor charges including furnishing alcohol to persons under 21 and reckless endangerment to a child, and that the names of the defendants won’t be made public “until such time as the Court makes a determination of probable cause and conducts an arraignment.”

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday whether Polk’s death would lead to additional charges.

“Further investigation will determine if any additional charges may be sought,” d’Entremont wrote.

David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office, said in a separate e-mail that prosecutors had been informed of Polk’s death as well.

“State Police detectives from our office have been in contact with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and will be reviewing the circumstances of the death,” Traub wrote.

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Police have said officers were called to 36 Netta Road in Dedham around 12:30 a.m. Sunday for a report of a 17-year-old, later identified as Polk, who became “submerged in the water of a pool.”

Authorities have not said how Polk ended up in the pool.

Timothy McGuirk, a spokesman for the medical examiner, confirmed his agency was reviewing the case, though it wasn’t immediately clear when the autopsy would be completed.

Meanwhile a number of friends and relatives of Polk, who played high school basketball and football, took to social media Friday to post recollections and words of encouragement to his family.

“[S]ending so much love to your family rest in the sweetest peace alonzo,” one person posted to Instagram.

Said another friend, “Rest In Peace young king I hope you forever live on through your friends and family It was an honor see you graduate I loved seeing how happy you and your family were it was a touching moment not many of us get the opportunity to make it that far I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to speak, play, and joke around with you.”

Polk had graduated as a member of the Dedham High School Class of 2021, the Dedham Public Schools said in a statement Friday.

“The Dedham school community is heartbroken to learn of Alonzo Polk’s passing following the tragic events of June 6th,” the statement said. “On behalf of our entire school community, we extend our deepest condolences to his family. Alonzo will be remembered as a kind, personable student, teammate and friend. Alonzo always gave his best and was someone who invariably left others smiling during their interactions. He was a pleasure to know because of his positive attitude and will to succeed.”

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Polk was among the recipients of the Anne S. Corcoran Scholarship given to local graduates, according to video footage of the graduation held last Saturday morning. The footage shows Polk walking across the stage in his red cap and gown, smiling and briefly raising his arms after receiving his diploma while friends cheer.

He also distinguished himself as a skilled defender for three seasons on the Dedham High varsity basketball team, according to a February tweet from a team account.

“Alonzo Polk- 3 year varsity player, League Champ,” the tweet said at the time. “Zo changed games for us with his defense, his intensity and will to never quit. He was never afraid of a challenge. One of the best 6th man in the league.”

School officials said Friday that counselors and guidance staff would be available during the school day to speak with any students, graduates, or staff members needing assistance. In addition, the statement said, trauma specialists will be available at Dedham Town Hall on Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Funeral information wasn’t immediately available.

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Dedham police, in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday, extended condolences to Polk’s family and friends.

“We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Alonzo who have been impacted by this tragic loss of life,” police said. “We ask that the privacy of Alonzo’s family and friends be respected as they grieve the sudden and heartbreaking loss of their loved one.”

Some family members shared their thoughts Friday via social media, including a cousin of Polk’s, Indyia Winnie Polk.

“My lil great cousin Alonzo Polk rest peacefully,” she posted to Facebook. “A unfinished life.”

Another relative, Roslyn Polk, also mourned Alonzo’s untimely death.

“He will always be my king love and gonna miss you nephew,” she posted to Facebook.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.