‘He made anybody laugh,’ family remembers Lake Afton drowning victim


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The family of 29-year-old Zach Shepherd is sharing their memories of him after deputies said his body was recovered Lake Afton on Saturday (June 27).

On Saturday, deputies responded to a possible drowning at the lake and were told Shepherd attempted to swim across the lake around 2 a.m. that morning. After an extensive search, his body was recovered on Sunday (June 28) afternoon.

Shepherd was married to his wife Ashton and they had two children together.

Zach Shepherd riding his BMX bike.
Courtesy: Ashton Shepherd

Ashton said her husband was a dare-devil and loved BMX.

(He was fearless,” said Ashton Shepherd, wife. “He would get on these bikes and do stuff that scared me. I knew that he loved it, and it was just amazing to watch him ride it.”

But as his family started to grow, being a dad became Shepherd’s new passion.

“He was so funny,” said Ashton. “He made anybody laugh and he was strong. He was determined and he was a hard worker.”

Ashton said on Saturday, Shepherd was at Lake Afton with friends.

“He jumped in the water and didn’t get out,” said Ashton.

His wife said she knew that bad news was coming.

“I was watching the sun rise and I just hear him talk to me,” said Ashton. “I knew that he was gone. He had some demons that he was facing. He faced alcoholism and addiction and I thin it just got the best of him.”

Ashton said she hopes those going through problems will reach out for help.

“If you’re facing demons, share them,” said Ashton.

Shepherd’s big smile, his need for speed, and love for his family are what those closest to him said they’ll cherish forever.

Zach and Ashton Shepherd with their two children.
Courtesy: Ashton Shepherd

Shepherd’s five-year-old son, Zariah is following in his dad’s footsteps with bikes and his five-month-old daughter, River is always smiling just like her dad; sweet reminders for the Shepherd family.

“It’s confusing knowing that he’s watching over us,” said Ashton. “I’ve been talking to him every day.”

A funeral for Zach Shepherd will be on Friday, July 3 at Life.Church East at 11 a.m.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family. If you would like to help, click here.

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