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Grant High School Senior Melino Liu Drowns; Family Deals With Second Drowning Death In Recent Years

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) - Tragedy struck twice for a local family that is now grieving the second loss of a son who drowned.

"Then he said 'bye' and that was the last time that I spoke to him," said Poliana Liu.

Poliana is grieving the passing of her youngest brother, 17-year-old Melino Liu, a senior at Grant High School. He died after drowning in the American River over the weekend.

Poliana says a similar tragedy struck her family six years ago when she lost her brother Paul.

"Our other brother drowned back in 2016 and this was near the Rainbow Bridg...this past Saturday is when Melino drowned as well," she said.

Captain Brian Gonsalves with the Sacramento Metro Fire Department says the water is deceptively low. In addition, branches, trees, and debris that have been underwater for years are now surfacing, which swimmers can get caught in.

The levels are also impacting rescue operations.

"It's so shallow that we are having a hard time putting in our water rescue boats," he said.

Josh West has been swimming in the river for years.

"There's a lot of underestimation that occurs, and when there is lower water, sometimes it's the debris," he said.

"People...would know him as a gentle giant," Poliana said.

As for Melino's family, they are now planning his funeral instead of a high school graduation celebration.

Poliana says she will be accepting his diploma in her brother's honor.

"He had plans after high school he wanted to join the military," she said.

Poliana says she will be accepting her brother's diploma on June 1. She says she'll miss Molino making breakfast for her and her mother every morning.

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