Local Honor Student dies, cause unknown

Published 2:04 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

By by Lee Weyhrich
Unanswered questions surround the tragic death of a local 15-year-old.
Naldo Walker, a sophomore at Escambia County High School, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 5 while playing basketball with some friends in the gym, assistant principal Kyle Fergusen said.
"Somewhere between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., Naldo left the gym to get some water, came back in and just passed out," said Fergusen.
Coach Bell who was supervising the game, tried to revive him but was unsuccessful. CPR was administered until an ambulance arrived at the scene. Walker died at Atmore Community Hospital within minutes of his arrival.
The initial autopsy has been unable to determine the cause of death, said Dr. Daniel Raulerson, the Escambia County Medical Examiner. "The anatomical autopsy did not produce a cause of death. We will have to study samples under a microscope to determine cause of death.
Initial results do not show any brain or physical abnormalities that could cause death, he said.
Naldo lived in Atmore with his mother, Valerie Jemison, until 1996 when they moved to Atlanta. In Atlanta Walker was placed in accelerated learning classes. Naldo only recently moved back to Atmore.
"He and his sister always spent summers with their grandma here in Atmore," said Jemison. "This last time he made up his mind he wanted to be here," she added.
Walker showed great promise athletically and played football for his school. His jersey number was 47.
Walker has been described by faculty as a "good kid" who never caused problems.
"He had good grades, a good personality, he was on the AB honor roll and he has never missed a day of class," said Fergusen.
Mellonee Davis, Walker's English teacher, agrees.
"He had a very dedicated attitude in class; he was a leader and you could always count on him to answer questions," she said.
"He called me every day to tell me he needed to be here. Even though there were bad influences, he wanted to stay; he felt he could be a good influence," Jemison said.
Students were informed of the tragedy 30 minutes before school let out Wednesday. This was not the first student death this year.
"We've lost four outstanding students, this year. It's been a tough year. Our kids will bounce back and we'll make it though the school year, but it really has been a tough year here in general."
All four deaths this year have been members of the ECHS football team, Woodrow Riley who died in an apparent suicide and two other fallen teammates, Kelvin Norman and Clifton Cooks who died in a traffic accident.
Coach Bell declined comment.
Public viewing will be Wednesday 1 p.m. until 8 p.m.at Turner Funeral Chapel in Atmore. Thursday the body will lay in-state from noon until 1 p.m.at Mt. Shiloh Baptist Church, Nokomis, Al.. The funeral will be at 1 p.m.

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