Girl, 11, Drowns at S.C. Church Camp

An 11-year-old girl drowned at a church camp Tuesday although her mother says she asked that the child not be allowed in the water.

Divers recovered Tianna Dukes from about 17 feet of water more than an hour after she had slid down a 76-foot chute into a pond at River Oaks Retreat Center (search). She was pronounced dead at Greenville Memorial Hospital (search), said Mike Ellis, Greenville County chief deputy coroner.

The girl was the last of seven children who took the slide into the water about 2:30 p.m., Ellis said.

"She was the best child," said the girl's mother, Felicia Dukes. "She's going to be truly, truly missed."

Dukes said her daughter couldn't swim and that she requested on paper to the church that sponsored the trip that Tianna not go in the water at all.

Tianna was a member of the Radiant Life Assembly of God (search) in Gaffney. Church officials refused to comment.

The girl was one of 141 children between the ages of 7 and 18 staying the week at River Oaks Retreat Center. The 40-year-old youth camp is open to all South Carolina churches, particularly Assembly of God. Radiant Life was using River Oaks this week.