Friends of Jelani Porter remember him as a fun, outgoing, and caring person

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - Shock and disbelief.

That’s how those close to Jelani Porter are describing his tragic death.

Porter, also known as Jay, worked at Bops Frozen Custard in Clinton. On Tuesday, the shop closed yesterday to pay respect to the 19-year-old. The doors are back open on Wednesday, but workers said didn’t feel the same without Porter.

“It just doesn’t, it feels like something is over us, like a dark cloud or something,” said Allanna Nichols, who worked with Porter for nearly a year.

Nichols said she enjoyed working with Porter, who she said made the workplace a fun and friendly environment for everyone.

”He was always just really bubbly, like really funny,” Nichols described. “He always brought a good attitude everywhere he went. There was never a day that I walked in, and he was just in a bad mood or had a bad attitude. He was always making somebody laugh.”

That’s why Nichols said she’s still having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that she’ll never get to see him again.

”It’s really hard to believe,” she expressed. “I almost want to be like, ‘No, he’s going to come into work tomorrow.’ It’s almost like I can’t accept it.”

The 19-year-old died after drowning at Lake Caroline on the Fourth of July. Investigators say he jumped off the back of a boat and never came back up. Tuesday morning, Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said dive team members recovered Porter’s body about 30 yards off the shore.

Tucker said Porter was found using sonar and other imaging equipment. While this news is still sending shockwaves to those who knew Porter, Nichols said she’s choosing to remember the fond memories the two shared to help her cope with this tragedy.

”When Jay was working it was always a good time,” Nichols recalled. “I would always tell him, ‘I love working with you.’ It always makes me feel so much better. I hated working with anybody other than Jay. We always made stupid jokes and stuff at work, so it feels like I’m never going to have somebody to just sit down and do that with, so it’s just sad.”

Investigators tell us Porter could swim and still don’t know why he drowned. The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is investigating this death.

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