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LATHROP — The San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office has identified the 17-year-old that drowned Saturday in a private lake in Lathrop as Jerald Asican.

“Just a good person to talk to, even if you didn’t know him, he would make conversation with you,” friend Melina Sifuentes said.

Asican’s loved ones visited a growing memorial Monday near the water on Lakeside Drive.

“He was just a really reliable person and it’s really unfortunate that somebody like that, somebody so honest and somebody so genuine, had to be taken from us so soon,” friend Jesse Hurtado said.

Friends tell FOX40 Asican was playing volleyball with friends when the ball landed in the water Saturday evening. Asican, who was known as an excellent swimmer, went in after it.

“Yeah, it’s sad that stuff like this gotta happen, but he’s in a better place and I know he’s resting easy,” friend Aron Fernandez said.

Asican grew up in foster care, friends say. Despite his hardships, he became a dependable leader at Lathrop High School. He excelled as a wrestler, football player and a peer educator, who raised awareness for substance abuse and mental health issues through the program Students In Prevention.

“Everyday that we were in the office he was always participating, always making us laugh,” Hurtado said. “He was just the sweetest guy in the world and you could tell that he really just wanted to make a difference.”

Despite their heartbreak, loved ones say they will do their best to continue Asican’s selfless work.