Police say homeless man did not save child from drowning - WSMV Channel 4

Police say homeless man did not save child from drowning

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Dreyton Sims, 9, drowned in the Duck River on July 4. (WSMV) Dreyton Sims, 9, drowned in the Duck River on July 4. (WSMV)
SHELBYVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's been nearly a week since a 9-year-old boy drowned in Shelbyville.

Since that tragic day, a homeless man claimed he pulled Dreyton Sims' older brother from the Duck River. But Shelbyville police said Monday that his story doesn't match up with witnesses told them.

Channel 4 also found there's a GoFundMe page set up for the man, Timothy Williamson, who claims to have saved the older brother from this river.

Shelbyville police told Channel 4 who is really responsible for those heroics on the Fourth of July.

"Friday morning after receiving some more information, it was found that there was actually two other guys who was down there who was actually involved in going in and getting the oldest boy out," said Det. Cody Swift, of Shelbyville police.

Swift said witnesses Harold Davis and Steven Shank were at Fisherman's Park barbecuing when they saw Dreyton and his 11-year-old brother TJ struggling to stay above water. According to the police report, Davis retrieved the oldest brother from the river after Shank grabbed the boy in the water.

"They said they didn't want any recognition, but they didn't want anybody claiming that they had done something when that really wasn't the case," Swift said.

The detective said he double-checked with witnesses after hearing Williamson said he was the person to pull the brother to safety. Police said Williamson was in the water but didn't actually save the child.

"There was a little bit of untruthfulness in there as far as him diving in and rescuing the oldest boy, which after talking with a few people we found out that that wasn't the case," Swift said.

A GoFundMe page calls Williamson a homeless hero of the Sims Family, asking for donations. Police said residents should be wary of emotional pleas and do their due diligence to make sure they aren't being taken advantage of. Residents said it's disheartening to hear.

"For people to take the up-play of a tragedy like that. I just have to say we live in a very strange world these days. I'm lost for words that people do that," said Melissa Phillips-Beasley of Shelbyville.

Police said they know residents in Shelbyville are very generous and suggest donating to the city's nonprofits that help the needy instead.

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