Pliny Murphy had a zest for life

Drowning ruled as cause of death for the eldest of six brothers
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Murphy family of Penryn is mourning the loss of their oldest child, Pliny, who died in a diving accident on July 25. Pliny Oscar Murphy V had just turned 20 in July. He was the son of Pliny and Gina Murphy and the oldest of six brothers. They are Phillip, 17; twins Avery and Samuel, 12; Levi, 8; and Nehemia, 4. Three of the boys attend Penryn Elementary School. According to Placer County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow, Murphy died after jumping off rocks into the water at Camp Far West Lake in Sheridan. "Witnesses on scene reported that Murphy had climbed to a height of approximately 40 feet above the water and dove into the reservoir," Ausnow said. Dena Erwin, spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, said an autopsy was performed. The cause of death was determined to be drowning. The Murphys are left with memories of an outgoing, adventurous young man who was loved by many. Since the accident, the Murphy home has hosted a steady stream of friends and relatives who wanted to share with the family how special their son was. Pliny Murphy grew up in Foresthill and starred on the school’s basketball team. He graduated in 2009. Sean O’Hagen, of Foresthill, said Murphy had a big influence on his life. “Pliny taught me to be original and not to change for others. He taught me to be brave. I never saw him afraid of anything,” O’Hagen said. Another friend, Seth Williams, of Foresthill, was a basketball teammate. “He was never sad. He was always so happy. I’ll remember his smile and laugh,” Williams said. Crystal Cowan, of Foresthill, had known Murphy since junior high. “Pliny was a great person. He was always there for everyone if you needed help,” she said. Deandre Hobbs, of Sacramento, met Murphy before the family moved from Sacramento and the two remained friends. “There was never a dull moment anytime we were together. He had such a positive attitude. We all loved him,” Hobbs said. Ryan Turner, of Sacramento, said he met Murphy when he was in the fourth grade. After the family moved, the two remained friends. Turner said he was with Murphy when the accident occurred, although Turner said he did not participate in the jumping. “Pliny was trying to do a back flip. I think he was unconscious because he didn’t move after he hit the water. He sank and within seconds people were in the water trying to save him.” Turner said. Turner said he went into the water and continued to dive down, but the water was murky and he couldn’t see anything. “I tried to rescue him, but it was hopeless,” he said. Turner said he was not comfortable with the diving and said he told Murphy so. Turner explained, “I was there at that same place a year ago when a Russian man died.” According to of the Placer County Sheriff's Department, Irfan Nasufovic, 45, apparently drowned near the cliffs on the Placer County side of Camp Far West Lake on July 4, 2009. Nasufovic slipped off the cliff, hit his head on rocks and fell into about 25 feet of water and did not surface. Turner said he takes solace in knowing that Murphy died doing something he loved. “He loved to jump. He’d done it lots of times at different places,” Turner said. Jana Thornsberry, of Loomis, is Murphy’s aunt and said, “He was an all-around great kid. He had a million and one friends.” Thornsberry said the family moved from Foresthill to Penryn about a year ago. She said recently, Murphy had worked with his father as a welder. “Pliny was wonderful. He lived life to the fullest. He was always looking out for his brothers,” she said. Oscar David, of Foresthill, coached Murphy on the school’s junior varsity basketball team. “He was a fireball. He had a burst of energy you don’t find in many people his age,” David said. David described Murphy as “a risk-taker with a sense of direction.” “He was raised by a good family. I’ll remember his ability, his good manners. He believed he was capable of doing anything put before him. He was a very straightforward young man. Very respectful. He passed that on to his teammates,” David said. “Everyone loved him and wanted to be around him,” David said. A celebration of Murphy’s life has been set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at Foresthill High School. Final details were not available at press time. For more information, go to In Loving Memory of Pliny Oscar Murphy on ----------------------------- PLINY MURPHY CELEBRATION OF LIFE When: 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7 Where: Foresthill High School More information: In Loving Memory of Pliny Oscar Murphy on