Winston Perez-Ventura, a 17-year-old Bronx teenager who was headed to Cornell University in the fall, drowned in Ithaca on Sunday, August 5.
According to Ithaca Police, Perez-Ventura went swimming in Fall Creek near Ithaca Falls around 2:30 PM Saturday.
Ithaca Police said the New York State Dive Team recovered a body, who was later identified as Winston Perez-Ventura, an incoming Cornell University student.
Ryan Lombardi, Cornell University’s Vice President for Student & Campus Life, released a statement regarding Perez-Ventura’s death.
“I write with deep sadness regarding the tragic loss of one of the newest members of our Cornell community,” Lombardi said in a statement. “Incoming first-year student Winston Samuel Perez Ventura ’21 drowned Saturday afternoon while swimming in Fall Creek.”
First responders searched the waterways and gorges across the area, with state police divers and helicopters joining in. Troopers discovered Perez-Ventura’s body around 7:20 p.m. Saturday near where he drowned, police said.
The teen was in Ithaca for a freshman summer program as he prepared for his upcoming first semester at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
Freshman orientation at Cornell is set to start in two weeks. Incoming students are required to pass a swim test and those who fail are required to take an additional class. Ithaca’s multitude of gorges and waterfalls are a popular attraction.
Acting Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler noted there are signs that prohibit swimming and trespassing at the falls.
Officers from the Ithaca Police Department, the Cornell University Police Department, and the Ithaca Fire Department took part in the search effort.
A GoFundMe page for the family has raised over $12,000 so far.