Drowning was cause of death for two Newport News men

NEWPORT NEWS — The State Medical Examiner's Office has pinpointed drowning as the cause of death for two 20-year-old men who went missing off Deep Creek last Tuesday and whose bodies were later recovered.

Breon Michael Brevard and Devin Shaquille Smith — friends and recent graduates of Denbigh High School — were fishing near the Menchville Marina on Tuesday afternoon when they attempted to swim to a sand bar.

Virginia Marine Police Chief Rick Lauderman said they got caught in a current and were pulled out into the James River. Emergency crews discovered one of the men's bodies on Tuesday evening, and the other on Wednesday morning.

"The cause of death is drowning, accidental manner," for both Brevard's and Smith's deaths, Donna Price, the chief administrator for the State Medical Examiner's Tidewater district, said Monday.

Price said no toxicology testing was performed, and that the examination is concluded.

The Newport News Police Department and other agencies that assisted with the search had not released the names of the drowning victims. But obituaries and photographs for Brevard and Smith ran in the Daily Press over the past few days, and the State Medical Examiner's on Monday confirmed the cause of their deaths.

Smith graduated from Denbigh High in 2012 and Brevard graduated the school in 2013, according to Daily Press archives.

Smith is survived by his parents, three brothers and two sisters, his obituary said. A viewing will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Shivers Funeral Chapel, on Courthouse Way in Smithfield. A funeral service will be held at noon on Wednesday at the chapel.

A viewing for Brevard was held Sunday at the C.C. Carter Funeral Home, with a service held at noon Monday at New Hope Baptist Church in Hampton. Smith and Brevard will both be interred at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Daily Press reporter Sarah Pawlowski contributed to this report. Dujardin can be reached at 757-247-4749757-247-4749.

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