Authorities Investigate Death of Fort Walton Beach Boy

By  | 


Those who knew him say 4-year old Joshua Bryant was a "loveable" boy.

"He was just full of life. And my children's ministry, they just loved him,” said Senior Pastor Johnathan Sansom, of Gulf Coast City Church.

Fort Walton Beach Police officials received a call around noon that a boy, who was at Garniers Beach Park with his family, was missing.

“We flooded the area, and conducted an area search, in the neighborhood, in the surrounding neighborhood, even at the park,” said Sgt. Matthew Holt, of the Fort Walton Beach Police Department. “Then we started calling in other agencies, including marine agencies."

After a little more than an hour, search teams found Joshua's body in the water, under a boat ramp, not too far from where he was last seen.

"Even after a child goes underwater, there may not be a lot of screaming, and splashing around so it is important to maintain contact with the children, who may have difficulty swimming, or anything like that,” said Sgt. Holt.

While authorities continue to investigate, The Bryant Family's pastor says he has seen an outpouring of community support.

"We of course are arranging for food to be prepared for some of the immediate family, and some of the extended family, that are here locally and that are coming into the area. And if anyone wants to give monetarily, they can do that through the church, and just in care of the Bryant family,” said Pastor Sansom.

A medical examiner was scheduled to conduct an autopsy Wednesday afternoon in Pensacola, and if you'd like to help the Bryant Family, contact the Gulf Coast City Church.


Ft. Walton Beach Police are investigating the death of a 4-year old child.

It happened today at Garniers Beach off of Beachview Drive.

Officers answered a call about a missing child, last seen playing in the shallow water just off shore with family nearby.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office joined the search until they located the child's body, not far from where they were last seen.

The medical examiner's office is performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death.