Fernhill river death: Tributes to Christopher Kapessa

Christopher Kapessa Image copyright family photo

Tributes have been paid to a "very popular" 13-year-old boy who was found dead in a river.

An investigation has been launched into how Christopher Kapessa ended up in the River Cynon in Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taff, on Monday.

Emergency services were called to the scene at about 17:40 BST and police said he was confirmed dead "shortly after" his body was found in the water.

It was "a terrible tragedy", a Mountain Ash Comprehensive School governor said.

"Our thoughts are with his family," chairwoman Pauline Jarman added. "It's knocked us for six to be honest."

Image caption The main road in Mountain Ash was closed while police attended the scene

Dozens of tributes have been left on the main road near the scene.

A group of pupils from the school came to lay flowers.

Bethany, 13, was one of Christopher's friends and said: "He was a lovely, funny boy. He was like the class clown."

The girls added friends of the boy who were with him at the time had tried to help but were unable to save him.

Bethany's grandmother Heather Llewellyn, from Cwmbach, was with Bethany on Monday when she got the news.

"Beth was sitting next to me and she said, 'My friend's died'.

"Everybody's devastated."

Another tribute called him the funniest boy in the world, adding: "You meant the world to me. Your laugh changes everybody's mood."

Image caption One tribute at the scene read: "I miss you so much already"

Rhondda Cynon Taf council leader Andrew Morgan said in a statement: "This is devastating news, but I know that the local community will rally around and offer its full support to the family and his friends at this incredibly difficult time."

Ray Thomas, from Fernhill Community Centre, said the family of the boy, from Pontypridd, had not lived in the area very long.

"As a community we have been left devastated by the tragic events that unfolded last night," he said.

"We cannot begin to comprehend what the family and friends of the victim are going through.

"The family have not lived in our community long but that has no relevance to us, when you live in our community you become one of our own.

"We all feel incredibly saddened by this tragedy and would like to express our sincere heartfelt condolences to the family and close friends of this young lad and extend our offer of support to anyone who has been affected."

Image caption Christopher played for Mountain Ash Juniors FC

His football club Mountain Ash Juniors, said in a tribute on social media that Christopher was a "lovely lad, a great friend and teammate to many".

Lawson, 13, a classmate and teammate in the football club's under-13s side, came to leave a football shirt in his memory.

One girl cried on her friend's shoulder after placing her flowers alongside the ever-growing pile of tributes.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it was "saddened" to hear about the incident and added pastoral support would be offered to those affected.

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