Flagler County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the death by apparent drowning of an 18-year-old man who washed up in the surf at Varn Park, just north of Beverly Beach, Monday afternoon.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene at around 4 p.m. after several people at the park reported seeing the 18 year old pulled from the water. A 56-year-old Palm Coast resident pulled him out and immediately administered CPR. The victim had lacerations to the head, according to an incident report.
“No one on scene was able to identify the male and have no idea where he came from,” the sheriff’s report states. “The unidentified male was wearing only boxers and a pair of socks and appeared to have been floating in the water for some time.” The current that day was southerly, leading responders to investigate the shoreline north from Varn Park. Deputies turned up nothing either on the beach or in parking lots that established any connection with the victim, who was transported to AdventHealth Palm Coast.
“Multiple statements were collected from the witnesses on scene. At this time there is no other information in
which deputies could use to identify the male,” the report states.
“Due to the active death investigation, this is all of the information available for release at this time,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said Tuesday morning. “The autopsy is scheduled for today. The person has been identified and is an 18 year old adult male but the identity is not being released due to the investigation. We do not believe foul play is suspected, however, this is the early stages of the investigation.”
Tashana Rodriguez, a 43-year-old Palm Coast resident, was at Varn Park when the man was discovered and alerted authorities, according to the sheriff’s report, along with others.
“A young boy got my attention by yelling ‘there’s a body in ocean’ and I ran over to confirm that it was a body,” Rodriguez wrote on her Facebook page Monday afternoon in a post that would be shared almost 700 times. “I’m yelling to my friend to call 911 and a gentleman pulled him out of the ocean and he started performing cpr on him and I started to pray over him along with other good people on beach trying to save this boys life. We performed cpr for about 10-15 mins till the paramedics came and took over.”
Rodriguez then described him as “a young black boy between the age of 15-19yrs old he was only [wearing] blue boxer briefs and orange socks.” It’s not clear why a swimmer would have been wearing socks, raising questions about what other circumstances may have contributed to the incident. The victim’s hair “was low cut on the sides on kinda long curly on top. Handsome young boy No family or friends on the beach to identify. We have no clue on how long he was in the ocean or where he came from. My friend and I walked the beach to try and find his family or friends no luck. He had no identification on him or we didn’t noticed any belongings on the beach.”
She added: “I’m praying that they identify this young boy and contact his family .. also they going need strength and healing from God to recover from this tragic loss. I’m truly heartbroken for his parents. 💔💔”
It is the second reported drowning along Flagler County’s shore in three weeks. An 80-year-old man drowned in Flagler Beach at the end of May.