Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Agony over double drowning tragedy

Clarendon family gripped with grief after brothers leap from US bridge

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2022 | 12:11 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Search efforts under way on Monday to locate missing Clarendon brothers Tavaughn Bulgin, 21, and Tavaris Bulgin, 26, in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in the United States, a day after they jumped from a bridge in a moment of frolic and vanished. One body was recovered yesterday. The search for the second brother, who has also been presumed dead, will resume today.
Search efforts under way on Monday to locate missing Clarendon brothers Tavaughn Bulgin, 21, and Tavaris Bulgin, 26, in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in the United States, a day after they jumped from a bridge in a moment of frolic and vanished. One body was recovered yesterday. The search for the second brother, who has also been presumed dead, will resume today.
Tavaughn Bulgin, 21.
Tavaris Bulgin, 26.
Bishop Rhoan Parkins says the entire Palmers Cross community has been shaken by the tragedy and is calling for people to rally around the Bulgin family.
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A gut-wrenching wail shattered the atmosphere at a Clarendon vigil on Monday as relatives and loved ones gathered in prayer, hoping for a safe reunion with two young brothers who vanished after jumping from a bridge while swimming in the United...

A gut-wrenching wail shattered the atmosphere at a Clarendon vigil on Monday as relatives and loved ones gathered in prayer, hoping for a safe reunion with two young brothers who vanished after jumping from a bridge while swimming in the United States.

Tavaris Bulgin, 26, and Tavaughn Bulgin, 21 – of Palmers Cross in Clarendon – had gone on a summer work programme at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

The brothers were among persons who on Sunday night jumped into the ocean from the Jaws Bridge in Martha's Vineyard.

One of the bodies, believed to be that of Tavaris, was found around 6:30 a.m. at Sengekontacket Pond. The search for the second brother, who has been presumed dead, was called off late yesterday and is to resume today.

Bishop Rhoan Parkins and other members of the New Testament Church of God in Palmers Cross were among the well-wishers at the vigil with the Reverend Keith Bulgin, the father of the Bulgin brothers, when their final hopes were dashed.

“It was deep gut bawling when the news came that the body had been found. It was raw agony,” said Parkins, the official spokesperson for the grief-stricken family.

He told The Gleaner that they had been praying and holding out hope for some positive news.

Now, their prayers are for grace to enable Reverend Bulgin and his wife, Jacqueline, to navigate the difficult days ahead.

Parkins, who is the pastor of the Scotts Pass New Testament Church of God, said that the family first learned of the unfolding tragedy after a relative in the United States had gone to visit the brothers and upon not being able to locate them, was notified of the ongoing search effort.

“The family is very distraught,” said Parkins, adding that the parents were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure as a result of the traumatic news.

“They are at home going through a stressful time, but getting comfort and support from the community,” he told The Gleaner.

The brothers' two sisters – one of whom is attending high school and the other said to be going through a difficult pregnancy – are also shaken.

Tavaris had graduated from University of Technology, Jamaica over a year ago, while Tavaughn was attending The University of the West Indies, Mona. They both studied business administration.

“They (brothers) both grew up in our surroundings and as boys in the church, very respectful, pretty well mannered. They made their parents proud. They never brought any reproach or any disrepute on the family. They are well loved, they are very sociable, very respectful and progressive,” Parkins, who has had a decades-long relationship with the Bulgin family, said of the brothers.

Reverend Bulgin has been pastoring the church for more than 25 years, and according to Parkins, he has become a part of the community with the children being no different.

Ministers and brethren from within New Testament Church of God and other denominations flocked to their Palmers Cross family home on Monday to show support.

Several persons were seen huddled in groups, all with the same forlorn expression as they tried to come to terms with the tragedy.

“It's really a hit that the community has taken. I would just want to say to the wider public, spare a moment for the Bulgin family. The boys are the second and the third child. The eldest child, she is pregnant and not doing pretty well. I want Jamaica to stop for a while and say a prayer for these persons,” Parkins said.

cecelia.livingston@gleanerjm.com