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"He was the light of the party": Friends react after Union Grove student found dead in pond

KANSASVILLE, Wis. (CBS 58) –

Outside Union Grove High School Wednesday night, many students were in tears during a normally celebratory powder puff football game.

It’s Spirit Week for this small Racine County community, but instead of cheering, they’re mourning the loss of a sophomore student.

Investigators found 15-year-old Austin Sanders face down in a pond behind his parent’s home Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says Sanders’ father found the boy, and called 9-1-1.

Sanders’ mother, Pauline Sanders, was arrested at the scene for bond jumping, and drug charges, according to Schmaling.

“The death is not suspicious in nature, but I can tell you we’re not ruling anything out.”

Friends describe Sanders’ as an avid skateboarder and class clown.

“He was a good friend and kind of a clown to everyone, everyone got along with him,” says Brennan Routheaux. “I’m still in shock right now. I don’t know how he got into the pond at all.”

Patricia Packard says Sanders occasionally spoke about family problems at home. It’s unclear why Sanders wasn’t at school Wednesday.

“It all kind of seems like a dream, like we’ll wake up tomorrow and he’ll be here,” she says. “That’s what I’m hoping for, just to say your last goodbyes. We didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

Union Grove’s Principal says the school will make a formal announcement to student’s Thursday morning.

Grief counselors will also be on hand throughout the week.

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