‘I’m really going to miss him;’ Family of teenager who drowned at Fernandina Beach share memories

The family of the teenager who drowned at Fernandina Beach earlier this week has spoken about missing their loved one.


On Thur., Sept. 14, the body of Daymeyun Ellis was recovered.

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The emotions are very raw.

Ellis was only 14 years old. His family told Action News Jax that he was just having fun with his two friends. But the waters off Fernandina Beach have been dangerous. While Hurricane Lee hasn’t had a direct impact on the East Coast, it did bring strong rip currents to the area.

“He’s my best friend,” MaQuayla Booker, Ellis’ sister said.

Ellis is one of five siblings. His aunt Dee Dee and uncle Shawn Keaton became his official guardians.

“That was my fishing buddy,” Keaton said. “So, I’m really not in the mood for fishing now.”

On Wednesday, Ellis and his two friends were swimming in the surf off Fernandina Beach. His friends made it out of the water, but Ellis didn’t. His family began desperately looking for him.

“I didn’t believe it,” Ellis’ sister MaQuayla said. “And it was like, we always all go to the beach together.”

A rescue team found Ellis’ body on Thursday.

“Before my aunt comes up, it starts shining and like really really bright like it just stops raining -- I don’t know it just starts shining really bright as she walks up she’s like they found him,” MaQuayla said.

MaQuayla is his oldest sister. She said she knew he gained his angel wings that day.

“It’s like he might not be here with us but it truly felt like so much weight was lifted off our chest,” MaQuayla said.

His younger brother Chandler said he looked up to Ellis.

“I’m really going to miss him,” Chandler told Action News Jax. “We were like this (hands together). If I ever needed something, just ask him, he can do it.”

His family said Ellis was a good kid. He was respectful and had a bright future in cooking.

“He thought he was a chef,” Keaton said. “He’s always putting ingredients together.”

Now the family wants to raise awareness about how dangerous rip currents are and how this tragedy can happen to anyone.

“He could swim,” Ellis’s cousin, Ashley Johnson said. “I don’t understand.”

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The family has set up a GoFundMe for Ellis. Anyone who wants to support them can find the page by clicking here.

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