MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The mother of a man whose body was found last weekend, nearly two months after he drowned in the Wolf River Harbor, says onlookers recorded his drowning instead of trying to save him.
“Nobody tried to throw him a life raft. Nobody tried to help him. They just stood there and videotaped it,” said Ronda Delk.
Now, instead of preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day with her only child, she’s planning his funeral.
“It’s gonna be really hard. I’m just gonna have to have my faith pull me through,” she said. “And God’s the only thing that’s gonna hold me together.”
James Rosenbaum, 41, disappeared in March after police say he jumped from a barge deck into the Wolf River Harbor while likely trying to reach the riverbank.
But instead of trying to help him, Delk says people stood around and videotaped his drowning, then posted it to social media.
“It was just devastating,” she said. “To think that people would just stand there and watch someone drown. I mean, I know it wasn’t their family, but it was somebody’s family.”
Police say the 41-year-old was with a woman who was later charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of scrap metal and other materials from the abandoned barge.
The search for Rosenbaum was called off the next day, but his mother refused to give up hope. She says she even waded into the water herself, determined to bring his body home.
“As a mother’s instinct, you’re gonna look for your child,” Delk said. “So, I had got a rope and tied it around me from a tree and tried to feel down there where I saw that he had drowned. But it was so bad out there, it’s just a straight drop off. You couldn’t see anything.”
Then last weekend, she says two fishermen finally found her son’s body about a hundred yards from where he went under.
“I know it’s closure, but it’ll never be closure when you’re the mother,” Delk said. “But I’m just happy that he’s been found and that I can put him to rest now.”
She says Rosenbaum will likely be laid to rest soon after Mother’s Day.
“He’s my only child and I just won’t never be the same,” Delk said. “But I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to bring him to me, and I guess he sent that angel down there and brought him home.”
Delk says she’s not convinced her son jumped into the water, and is still waiting for more answers from investigators.