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Family identifies teen killed while swimming at Fernandina Beach

Crews searched for a missing 14-year-old swimmer for hours at Fernandina Beach Wednesday. 24 hours later, the body of Daymeyun Ellis was pulled from the surf.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The teen who died after being reported missing at Fernandina Beach Wednesday afternoon has been identified. The uncle of 14-year-old Daymeyun Ellis confirmed his nephew was the teen that was killed.

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, the Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue got a call in reference to a swimmer in distress. Witnesses told emergency crews that the boy disappear into the waves and did not come back to the surface.

Fernandina Beach Fire Chief Ty Silcox said the teen was with a friend and the friend's mother on a swimming pool float when the teen went under the water. Both the friend and his mother made it back to shore. 

Police and lifeguards searched by land, sea, and air, even patrolling the beach overnight and Thursday morning.

Early Thursday, the women who initially reported the missing swimmer the day before, saw his body lifeless in the water. The teen's body was pulled from the surf just a half mile from where he was last seen Wednesday.

One of the women, Kelly Wheeler, said she had trouble sleeping the day after the teen's body was found.

"I’m trying not to cry. I’m glad he was found and the family can hopefully get some closure."

Friends of Ellis described him as "a fun loving, outgoing, and respectful 14-year-old," adding he "loved to fish, hang out with his friends, family, and siblings," according to a gofundme page made to raise funds for Ellis' funeral. 

Fernandina Beach Police Chief Jeff Tambasco said the waves at the beach Wednesday were the biggest he'd witnessed at Fernandina Beach.

"It was very, very rough yesterday. The turbulence was something I've not seen here in Fernandina Beach," said Tambasco. 

While rip currents were a threat Wednesday, Silcox said it’s not certain if rip currents are to blame for Ellis' death. However, his death is listed on the National Weather Service's website as a rip current related-death.

Red flags were flying on the beach, warning of strong surf conditions at the time of the teen's death. 

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