PITTSBORO, N.C. (WFMY)-- The Chatham County Sheriff's Office is rallying behind the family of Joseph Taylor Smith, the 21-year-old who drowned over the weekend.

Taylor's father, Kyle Smith is a deputy. He's worked as a school resource officer with the sheriff's office for more than 15 years.

"Kyle's part of our family and his family is our family so it's been very traumatic for Kyle especially and then us also," says Sheriff Mike Roberson.

A witness reported seeing a kayaker go under water at Saxapahaw Lake Paddle access point in Graham shortly after 6 PM on Sunday. Taylor Smith was seen trying to swim back to safety, but he went under and never resurfaced.


The unexpected tragedy is putting a financial burden on the Smith family.
That's why Sheriff Roberson is encouraging the community to help where they can.

"His son was 21-years-old. There's not insurance. I know people don't think about 21-year-olds needing insurance. And so the community helping Kyle back would be giving back to Kyle what Kyle has already given to the community," says Sheriff Roberson.