Social media posts began rapidly darting across Facebook Friday about a 13-year-old boy “found by a teacher at Rym Fire, walking around covered in mud and blood incoherent near Rym Fire park where he frequents.”
The post, illustrated by the picture of a boy in a hospital room, with a head bandage and on a ventilator, goes on to state that “He is new to this area, doesnt know anyone out here. Hes been riding his bike daily from the P section to various parks in the area. His name is Jake.”
A school district spokesman said the district had “no knowledge of this incident or even if one of our staff was involved in helping as stated in the post.” A Palm Coast Fire Department spokesman said the department had not been dispatched to the area. A sheriff’s spokesman was examining records to shed light on the situation, which to some readers reacting to the posts was raising questions as a potential hoax. But it was not.
In fact, the incident was reported to sheriff’s dispatchers soon after 1 p.m. on Friday as a 13-year-old boy walking around, not looking well, looking ”
cut up” as if he’d crashed his bike. He was “muddy” and wearing a dirty t-shirt and shorts, in the description provided to dispatchers by a caller, who also described the boy as “wobbling.” The caller was with the boy and tried to bring him under a tree to await authorities. Ladder 25 out of the Palm Coast Fire Department was requested then cancelled, and the boy was taken to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach at 1:33 p.m. by Flagler County Rescue 92.
The boy was identified as Jacob D. Pelton, a resident of Peppercorn Lane in Palm Coast. According to what he told authorities, he fell off his bicycle and struck his head. There is no explanation as to why or how he’d fallen, or whether anyone else was involved. The viral social media post claims “his bike was never found.” But a statement by the Sheriff’s Office today attributed the fall only to an accident, and that the boy was trying to make his way home when he fell again, and was found.
Jacob had trouble answering basic questions, and told authorities he went to Campbell Middle School, which is on South Keech Street in Daytona Beach. He gave his father’s phone number. Authorities could not reach anyone there initially, but the boy’s father was contacted at 2:30 p.m. and went to the hospital. (A call to that number by FlaglerLive led to voice mail.)
Neighbors of the house told authorities that they only knew that the people at the Peppercorn address had recently moved in. The 2,000 square-foot house is not homesteaded and is likely a rental, owned by a corporate entity that owns almost a dozen properties around Palm Coast.
On Saturday morning, another caller told authorities that they had seen the boy at the skate park, presumably at Ralph Carter Park near Rymfire, around 10 a.m. Friday, and that the boy was walking around seeming fine, suggesting that the incident took place after 10 a.m.
Nothing in the report to authorities so far suggests foul play.
“The FCSO appreciates all of the public outreach and concern,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement this afternoon. “We have been in touch with the family of the juvenile and they are very appreciative of the outpouring of support as the juvenile continues to recover.”