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Wife killed during boat fire in Bahamas while celebrating wedding anniversary

A Cherokee County community will soon gather to pay tribute to a local school leader who was killed in a boat explosi...

Posted: Jul 5, 2018 3:51 PM
Updated: Jul 5, 2018 3:51 PM

A Cherokee County community will soon gather to pay tribute to a local school leader who was killed in a boat explosion while on vacation.

A tour boat in the Bahamas engulfed in flames sending a thick plume of dark smoke into the sky over the weekend.

Maleka Johnson was killed and her husband, Tiran, was critically injured.

For Melvin Grimes of Tennessee, the death of Maleka is personal and painful but he he is trying to stay positive with his faith.

"Maleka would be, I guess what I call a shooting star. She had a life that kind of stayed straight on the course and it was a life that brought a lot of joy and a lot of support and love into the lives of others," said Grimes.

He said he just couldn't believe the heart-breaking news about his daughter.

"In those waiting moments, I actually didn't reach out for anyone in hopes of course that the information that I was getting was not correct," said Grimes.

Maleka grew up in Tennessee. she and her husband Tiran were in the Bahamas celebrating their 15 years of marriage. Maleka's aunt Denise says Tyran was also on that boat when it went up in flames.

"Tiran has severe injuries to his legs. And he can't get to his son and Maleka's first words would have been 'take care of my son," said Denise.

During the vacation, their 12-year-old son Cameron, a rising 7th grader at Mill Creek Middle School was in Tennessee with family. Now family members are just trying to comfort and console him.

"The village surrounds him and whereas we can't fill the void, we can make sure that the memories are there, that the joy is there, and he's able to do everything that his mom would want him to do," said Melvin.

Friends have raised more than 40-thousand dollars for a GoFundMe account.

There will be a vigil at the tennis courts of the the Lakestone subdivision at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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