Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
German police officer, 22, drowns in hotel pool

A 22-year-old police officer visiting from Berlin, Germany, drowned in an Old Town hotel's pool Sunday night while engaged in a swimming contest with two drunken strangers, police reports said.

Stephan Walker was pronounced dead at Lower Keys Medical Center after a doctor tried to resuscitate him for more than 30 minutes.

Officers had to inform the man's father, Thomas Walker, who is also a police officer in Germany, of his son's death.

The elder Walker said his son was in good health and very fit, had no health problems and was not taking any medication, the report says.

Walker said he didn't think his son was drinking by the pool, but police officers wrote "had been drinking" in the report that asks for the sobriety status of the victim.

Officers interviewed a couple who spent time with the 22 year-old just before he disappeared into the pool.

Rich Eten, 45, of Boca Raton, told police that he and his girlfriend, Rose-Anne Fresenius, 37, of Delray Beach, had been drinking all day Sunday when they met "a nice young German police officer" at the Truman Hotel's pool, 611 Truman Ave.

"I'm a Navy Seal," Eten said, slurring his words, police reported.

The hotel's video security captured the couple and Stephan Walker together talking at the back end of the pool about 8 p.m., the reports said.

The swimming contest was to see which of the three could swim the most laps without coming up for air.

On the video, Walker is seen completing three laps underwater, yet when he made it back to the pool's edge by the ladder, he doesn't come back up, police said.

His new friends didn't notice a thing, police said.

"You notice Eten and Fresenius unaware and engaged in some other sort of conversation away from Walker's return lap to the edge of the pool," Officer Gustavo Medina wrote.

Three minutes later, the video shows Eten and Fresenius get out of the pool, pick up their drinks and "calmly walk away apparently unaware that Stephan Walker never came up for air," Medina wrote.

Some 11 minutes later, another hotel guest is seen on the tape getting into the pool by the ladder and freezing in place halfway into the water.

She saw a body on the bottom of the pool and called out for help, she told police later.

A 56-year-old man from Uruguay, seated nearby, responded by diving into the water and pulling Walker out to start CPR. The body was cold to the touch and Walker never responded, the man told police.

Eten and Fresenius told police that Walker was a strong swimmer and believed that he had continued swimming after their contest, and "at no point thought he was in danger," police wrote.

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