Dakota “Kody” James Horth didn’t get to help wrap his beloved nephew’s Christmas presents or watch him open them.
Horth, 20, had planned to go over to the home of his older brother, Kyle Horth, 30, Christmas Eve but at the last minute decided to go out on a boat with some friends instead.
He did not survive the boat ride, tragically, after the boat crashed into a piling in the Manatee River near the Warner’s Bayou boat ramp in Bradenton.
“He grew up on a boat,” the victim’s older brother said. “He knew what to do and what not to do.”
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The crash occurred at about 8 p.m. Saturday, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman James Boogaerts. The U.S. Coast notified FWC, and state officers responded to investigate the crash.
Horth was ejected from the boat and was later pronounced dead at Blake Medical Center as a result of his injuries.
There had been four other people aboard the 17-foot Aquasport boat — including the driver. No other injuries were reported.
The crash remains under investigation and FWS has not released a cause.
The victim’s family remains in shock by the loss and wants answers after getting little information from investigators and conflicting stories from the other people on the boat.
“He was a very responsible kid. He wasn’t a daredevil,” his brother said.
The victim’s brother and mother both said he was looking forward to starting a new career after just recently acquiring his license to be an insurance adjuster.
“He was super proud about that,” Kyle Horth said. “Kody was super excited to start the new year now that he got license.”
Their father was mentoring him in the field.
Deborah Osborne Horth became emotional as she recalled her son.
“He was the most loving, caring kid,” she said. “He really enjoyed fishing and all sporting activities. He was a big Gators fan.”
Her son was often at the beach fishing, she said.
“There was nothing he wouldn’t do for his family and friends,” she added. “He’s going to be missed by many.”
Kyle and Dakota Horth had just being discussing potential plans to take a trip to Las Vegas for the younger brother’s 21st birthday in August last week as they watched Monday Night Football together.
“He grew up playing football and baseball and fishing in every pond that he could find,” his brother said.
But he had a big heart, that touched the lives of many.
“He made everyone around him a little better, myself included,” Kyle Horth said.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Bayside Community Church.