Police: 6-year-old drowns in Gulf of Mexico during vacation
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities on Tuesday recovered the body of a 6-year-old boy believed to have drowned during a family vacation in Florida, police said.
The body of Enrique Cortez-Dubon was found Tuesday afternoon in the sand, the Panama City Beach Police Department said in a statement. The 6-year-old appears to have drowned, police said.
“This was nobody’s fault. This was a tragic accident,” Chief J.R. Talamantez told reporters Tuesday evening.
Cortez-Dubon had been last seen late Monday morning in knee-deep water near the Shores of Panama Resort, where his family was staying for a beach vacation. The family is from Atlanta.
Talamantez urged parents to talk to their children about water safety.
“Enrique was a small child. There were hundreds of people around him, and it can happen that quickly,” he said.
Police searched for the child for two days, using helicopters and drones to search the island and sending divers into the water. Talamantez said the body was found after someone reported seeing a body in the water.
Before the boy was found, police said they were investigating the possibilities that the child may have drowned or that he was abducted, although “the evidence leads us to believe he went missing in the water.”
Christina Majors of Tennessee told the Panama City News Herald that she saw Enrique playing in the sand with his family Monday morning behind a restaurant.
“When we saw his picture, we knew exactly who it was,” she said. “I know we personally don’t know them, but it just breaks my heart. That’s every parent’s worst fear. I couldn’t imagine having to live that through.”