Lowndes High senior drowns off Florida beach

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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
Updated - May 15, 2018

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Family and friends are in mourning after a Lowndes High School student drowned during a trip to St. Augustine Beach.

The teen went missing in the surf Sunday afternoon. Jaylen Lott, 18, was later pulled from the ocean. He was a senior and a football player at Lowndes High School.

Authorities say Lott was in the water Sunday with two other friends, while family members stayed on the beach.

The friends reported feeling the rip current pulling them deeper into the ocean. The report says that's when Jaylen began pulling the other two back to shore.

The incident report says Jaylen told family and beach goers to help his friends while he swam back. Then, he disappeared.

He was found after an hour search, and pronounced dead at the hospital.

"It's always a sad tragedy. A tragedy like a student passing away has struck the school before. It's a horrible thing to hear that a parent lost a child. It's not a good thing." Said, Travis Cross-Manheart, an LHS student.

School officials say there were grief counselors available on campus Monday.

LHS senior Robert Holbrook says Jaylen was like a brother to him. They'd gone to school together since sixth grade. The death is taking a toll on Holbrook.

"Complete sadness and overwhelming depression, and a little bit anger. But, it was mainly sadness and depression. It hurts a lot. It broke my heart," he said.

Holbrook says he found out about Jaylen's death through a group message on the social media app, SnapChat.

He was in his 3rd period class at the time.

Jaylen is described as outgoing, respectful and cheerful. Authorities said his death has been ruled an accidental drowning by rip currents.

Godfrey Funeral Home is handling the service for Jaylen. Services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at New Life Ministries, located at 5651 Inner Perimeter Road in Valdosta.


By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 14, 2018

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. (WCTV) -- A senior at Lowndes High School has died after being pulled from the water off St. Augustine Beach in Florida.

According to the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, 18-year-old Jaylen Lott went missing around 3:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming in the ocean.

A St. Johns County fire lieutenant says Jaylen was pulled from the water after crews searched for him for more than an hour. He was taken to an area hospital in critical condition and later died.

Authorities say red flags for rip current conditions were flying Sunday afternoon.

Lowndes County Schools confirms Lott was a senior at Lowndes High School.

The Lowndes Vikings Football Facebook page shared a photo of Lott, saying the team's thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Valdosta City Schools shared the post, saying "Our hearts ache for our Viking family today. The loss of a young life is always impossible to understand. We will continue to keep each of you in our thoughts during the days to come."

LCS says guidance counselors and social workers are providing grief counseling for students and staff.