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TOPSAIL BEACH (WWAY) — A woman drowned while swimming with her lifelong friend in Topsail Beach. Now, friends and family members are trying to make sense of what happened to the former Assistant Town Clerk they knew and loved.

“There’s someone floating in the water and they need help,” a caller told Pender County 911.

But help came too late for 66-year-old Laurel King.

One of King’s best friends of 50 years says she was with King when she drowned. She says they were swimming at Topsail Beach Monday in relatively calm waters, when all of a sudden, the two were separated by a strong current, and her friend went under.

The friend did not wish to appear on camera but says King was a fierce friend, loyal, and always willing to lend a helping hand.

King’s sister-in-law, Barbara Faulkner agrees.

“Laurel was such a sweet person,” Faulkner said. “I will always remember her for being kind and thoughtful, and so considerate of other people and what they needed.”

Family members say King was a woman who tried to help those who couldn’t help themselves. They say she was an avid volunteer in the community. She worked for the town, and was at one point the Program Director for Senior Friends where she planned trips for the elderly.

But her sister-in-law says the most important thing in King’s life was her family.

“She absolutely adored her granddaughter,” Faulkner said. “She was the most precious thing in the world to her.”

The family says they are in the middle of planning funeral services for King. They hope to have the funeral this Friday.


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