NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The mother of the 16-year-old boy who drowned last week in Percy Priest Lake spoke out for the first time about her son.
Angela Leach recalled how she learned that her son, Kortae Hughes, died.
“He called me, he said, ‘Miss Angela, your son went under water, he didn't resurface.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ I broke down, I couldn't do nothing but holler,” Leach told NewsChannel 5’s Vicki Yates.
On the afternoon of May 13, Kortae was swimming with friends in Percy Priest Lake when he went under and did not resurface. After an extensive search, his body was recovered two days later.
Currently living in Kansas City, Missouri, with her daughter A'sha, Leach said Kortae and his brother Isaiah were living in Nashville with a guardian until she could prepare their new home.
“It was very hard for me because, when you're away from your home state, then you get a devastating phone call, now I don't look at it as a hurting feeling, I look at it like God called his great angel home because he knew Kortae meant well when he was here on earth,” Leach said.
Leach said she was even more upset when she learned that Kortae hadn't felt well that day.
“He knew that he could swim, but I didn't recommend Kortae going into that much water,” Leach added. “You going to take him somewhere, take him to a regular swimming pool-- not the lake.”
Leach said that’s because Kortae had a history of seizures. Although it's not known if he had a seizure while in the water, his mom said there's a good chance he did.
“Kortae would have seizures every other week,” Leach stated.
She said he was more than your average 16-year-old, as she said he made a connection with a higher power early in life.
“Kortae, before he was baptized. I knew, I said something is special about my baby. Everywhere he would go through the house, singing Christian songs, and he'd go open up that Bible and read it,” Leach recalled.
She said he even predicted his own demise.
“I was in shock. I said, ‘What you mean Kortae?’ He said, ‘the Lord won't let me disclose it to you,’ but he said, ‘I see my own death,’” she said.
“I know Kortae's sitting up high now. He's looking low, and he speaks to me. He says, ‘Mama, I'm much happier now, I found my way back home to God,’” Leach concluded. “And when he went into that water, I felt my baby was re-baptized again.”
Kortae Hughes will be laid to rest Wednesday with a memorial service at Percy Priest Lake next Saturday at 6 p.m.