Ten-year-old Margaret Donaldson came walking up the hill. But her brother was not behind her.
“I went down. I was yelling his name to tell him to come into the car,” his mother, Anna Donaldson, said Friday. “When I got down the slope, he was gone, and he had just been there a few seconds before.”
Police said Jack had been swept away by Piney Branch Creek; his body turned up about two hours later near Lawyers Road. Donaldson said the waterway is typically “a very tiny creek.” But by the time she got there Thursday, “it was a huge, raging river.”
Jack, a seventh-grader at Dominion Christian School in Oakton, was one of four people in the Washington region who drowned this week after drenching rains. Their stories couldn’t be more different and show the random nature of the relentless storm.
They included Arsalan Hakimi of Reston, a 67-year-old pizza deliveryman who had finished his last run of the day Thursday afternoon when the rain made his shop stop home deliveries. He was headed to see his grandchildren at their nearby home in Great Falls when he was killed by roiling floodwaters, his boss said.
A third Fairfax County victim, Galo Sebastian Salvador Vinueza, 25, of Lorton, had made it home in the storm, but he went back out searching for his wife when she was late returning from work, a cousin said.
Police think Vinueza tried to walk across a flooded Accotink Creek Bridge, thinking his wife might have been on the other side, but he got swept away by the rushing current.
The fourth victim was identified by police as Daniel Lambert, 49, of the 400 block of Riverside Drive in Pasadena, Md. He was pulled by officers Wednesday from water near his home but died at a Baltimore hospital.
Grief multiplied by 4
The youngest victim was a mature thinker for his age, his family said.
He would enchant his friends with choose-your-own path stories, allowing them to pick from options that would guide his tale forward. When his family got a dog, he was worried about the sorrow that would come when it eventually died.
But Jack Donaldson also loved the things that most 12-year-olds loved — such as throwing a baseball with his dad. Or playing in the rain.
“We’re just completely heartbroken. He was a very caring kid,” Anna Donaldson said. “Every single day, we told him we were proud to be his parents, and we meant it, every day.”
Jack was active in church groups and loved playing baseball, racing toy cars and acting. He had recently been cast as Macbeth in the school play, Anna Donaldson said.
Jack’s father, Tim, introduced his son to Legos at a young age, and the hobby stuck. For his 12th birthday, he went to Legoland in California. He dreamed of being an architect or a Lego designer, family members said.