Juan Heredia

Stockton Volunteer Diver, Juan Heredia, Continues To Bring Closure To Grieving Families

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MERCED COUNTY, CA — Juan Heredia, a volunteer diver from Stockton, has once again demonstrated extraordinary courage and skill by recovering the body of Brenda Duran from the San Joaquin River. Duran, a mother, tragically drowned last week while attempting to rescue her children. This recovery marks another somber mission for Heredia, who recently located the body of a 15-year-old student in Stockton in March.

Heredia and his family, who form his support team, were fully equipped and prepared along the banks of the Merced River early Monday morning. This was shortly after they had successfully recovered Duran's body on Saturday. Despite challenging conditions and zero visibility underwater, Heredia's determination and experience prevailed.

"With my family’s support, I dive knowing I’m bringing peace to others," Heredia shared with local media, underscoring the personal significance of his volunteer work. His commitment stems from his 28 years of diving experience, which he insists on using to aid families in mourning, despite his primary profession as a real estate agent.

The task is fraught with danger, not just for the lost souls but for Heredia himself, a risk he is well aware of but accepts willingly. "I'm running a risk I know, but you know, I want to get something sooner for the family," he stated, emphasizing his focus on providing quick closure for grieving families.

Local law enforcement agencies, while grateful for Heredia's help, also express concern for his safety during these high-risk missions. Despite the dangers, Heredia remains undeterred, driven by a profound sense of duty to his community.

The selflessness of Heredia and his team extends beyond their immediate rescue efforts. Following the recovery of 15-year-old Xavier Martinez, Heredia helped raise approximately $11,000 to support the bereaved family, highlighting his dedication to aiding those impacted by such tragedies.

Heredia's efforts have not gone unnoticed, and though he declines any monetary rewards, his community continues to laud his bravery and humanitarian spirit. As the Merced County sheriff's office announced plans to close the river after Monday, Heredia’s recent mission marks another poignant chapter in his journey as a diver who provides much more than recovery—he offers a sense of closure in the face of unimaginable loss.

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