HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - Students and faculty at East Central High in Jackson County are in mourning Monday night, after the untimely death of 16-year-old Cade Slater, a student at the school.
The popular teen known to many as "Precious" collapsed over the weekend and died while out-of-town. What caused his death is still unknown. His friends, family and faculty said this is truly an unexpected loss.
Slater's family cried and consoled each other outside East Central High Monday as they remembered the fun-loving boy now gone.
"Everybody loved him. I don't know one person who could say one bad word about him," his uncle Corey Diaz said.
Cade's uncle said he loved trucks, playing baseball and the great outdoors. The teen was actually going on a family hunting trip Friday when they all stopped at a fast food spot to eat. That's when the unthinkable happened.
"He had been feeling kind of bad all day, and they went to get him something to drink and they came back and he was not responsive," Diaz said.
The teen later died. Family members said the preliminary autopsy results did not determine a clear cause of death, so more tests are being preformed.
"A 16-year-old kid who is healthy, never goes to the doctor. We just want to know what happened," said Diaz.
Mourning students and staff members inside the school are wondering that same thing, including Slater's principal Jim Hughey who said Slater was very popular.
"Oh no that can't be true, but unfortunately it was. For the staff that was our child," said Hughey.
To celebrate his short life, the school wrote notes in chalk at his assigned parking spot. Rest in peace signs adorned the gates, and many students wore camouflage gear for Slater.
"It is a very big loss," said student Ben Jones.
Jones and Slater were good friends. He admits it was extremely difficult not seeing him in the halls or class Monday.
"It broke me down really bad," said Jones.
Jones says he and friends will have to hold on to the good memories of Slater now to get through this heartbreaking time, and he's also praying for the family.
"It is a lot of grief losing your son at the age of 16. It is pretty emotional," Jones added.
Funeral arrangements for Slater have been set. Visitation will be held Tuesday evening from 5 to 9 at Heritage Funeral Home in Moss Point. The funeral is Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Magnolia Springs Assembly of God church in Hurley.