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Father learned about teen's theme park death on social media

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The father of a Missouri teenager who fell to his death from a drop-tower ride in Orlando said he learned of his son’s death through social media.

Yarnell Sampson told WESH he found out about his son’s death after he clicked on a devastating video that had circulated online that shows the moment his son, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell off the 430-foot tall “Orlando Free-Fall” in ICON Park.

“It felt like somebody hit me so hard in my stomach,” Yarnell Sampson said. “I just lost, I lost, lost wind. And the pain behind it could never be taken away, and sorry’s not gonna take it back and no monies, no nothing in the world to replace the young man. And it’s just sad, a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park.”

The investigation into his son’s death remains open, Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters Friday.

Those close to Tyre remembered the teen as a charismatic athlete with a bright future before him.

At 6 feet 5 inches and over 300 pounds, he was a football standout with aspirations to play professionally.

“He was a high recruit as an eighth grader. Tyre could have gone to any high school in St. Louis that he wanted to go to. That’s how promising his future was,” A.J. Jones said. “I think he was the next big thing coming out of St. Louis. And he was putting in the work.”

Sampson’s family has reportedly hired attorneys Benjamin Crump and Bob Hilliard while authorities continue to investigate the teen’s death.

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