Teen recovered from the American River was expected to graduate in June

Local News

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — The teen whose body was pulled from the American River this weekend was identified as 17-year-old Melino Liu, a high school senior.

“He’s too young,” said Sosefina Liu, Melino Liu’s mother.

Melino Liu was due to graduate from Grant High School in June and was considering a career in the military. The Twin Rivers School District made counselors available Monday for students and teachers affected by his death.

“He’s a really nice boy, so quiet and he does everything for me and my sister,” Sosefina Liu said through tears.

His body was recovered from a 20-foot deep channel in the American River in Rancho Cordova after an outing with friends. 

A non-swimmer, Melino Liu was likely wading in shallow parts of the river. 

“There are points where you’ll take a step and you can drop 15 to 20 feet below the surface level of the water,” Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal told FOX40.

Search and rescue had to use an underwater robot to find his body. 

Melino Liu’s death is all the more tragic because his older brother, Paul Liu, also died in a river drowning incident in the same river six years ago but he was a strong swimmer. 

Melino Liu’s adult sister permitted him to go swimming, something Sosefina Liu would never have done. 

“No, I never let the rest go because I knew what happened to the first one,” Sosefina Liu said.

A few days earlier, Melino Liu insisted his mom look at a picture of him, his deceased father and brother, something his mother says was a premonition. 

“’My father, my brother’s gone, I’m going to be the third one,'” Sosefina Liu recalled her son saying.

Amidst all the grief and guilt over Melino Liu’s death, there was also some comfort for a deeply religious mother. 

“I’m sad, but at the same time, I’m happy. He is in a better place,” she said.

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