Anna Maria Island rip current claims 14-year-old boy

rdymond@bradenton.comJuly 8, 2013 

ANNA MARIA -- As a heartbroken family waited on the beach Sunday morning, a Manatee County Sheriff's Office Marine boat found the body of a missing 14-year-old male from Winter Haven in Polk County.

The body, identified as Dushay Nelson, was found at 9 a.m. Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico, in the general area where he had been seen struggling with rip currents at about 5 p.m. Saturday on a stretch of surf opposite Willow Avenue on Anna Maria Island.

"His body was located not far from where he was reported to have entered the water," said Lt. Barry Overstreet of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Just after 9 a.m., a phone call alerted Dushay's extended family, members of whom had been sitting on the beach near the Willow Avenue bridge since about 7 a.m. Sunday awaiting word on the teen's recovery.

Darkness halted the recovery operation Saturday night.

There were screams as the family learned the body had been found.

"The family was taken to the sheriff's office's marine unit on Coquina Beach and they were placed with a victim's advocate," Overstreet said.

Family members were so distraught they did not wish to speak to media Sunday.

Celeste Poggioli, a New York resident here visiting family, said a rescuer screamed to a nearby youth to let him use a boogie board to try to reach the struggling swimmer.

Anna Marie Island resident Sam Castellano's daughter, Jennifer Porter, was an eyewitness to Dushay's accident, Castellano said Sunday.

"She was in the water near where they were," Castellano said. "Suddenly, there was so much activity, like a frenzy, that she thought it was a shark attack. People were trying to help. He was caught in the current."

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.

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