Missing Georgia Swimmer's Body Found

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH - The body of a Georgia man who went missing in the Gulf of Mexico Saturday night near the Grand Panama Beach Resort has been found.

Panama City Beach police were searching for 27 year old Jamarcus Bell from Hephzibah, Georgia all Saturday night.

His body was recovered around 10 A.M. Sunday with help from Bay County Sheriff's deputies and Panama City Beach police.

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a hero. Panama City Beach police say 27 year old Jamarcus Bell was helping friends in distress Saturday night when he was swept into the Gulf of Mexico himself.

He did not resurface.

"It's heartbreaking, you know. My heart just aches for the family. I understand he was not very old, compared to me, and it's just heartbreaking," said Carla Burns, a witness.

Around 10:00 A.M. Sunday, a helicopter from the Bay County Sheriff's Office located Bell's body only 150 yards away from the beach behind the Beach Tower Resort.

The Panama City Beach Police Surf and Rescue Unit recovered his body from the water. Witnesses say it was difficult to watch.

"Oh goodness, I think they found him, you know, and that's it's tragic, but then again it's also closure for the family. As difficult as it is for them, I can't even imagine. We're thankful that at least now, they know," said Burns.

Panama City Beach police didn't stop looking for Bell all night.

"A lot of times when a swimmer goes down. They will sink to the bottom for a little while and then it's a matter of time to wait until we're able to locate him. Plus at night it's a lot harder to see someone out there in the water," said Cpl. Chris Boyer.

Officials say the yellow flags flying Saturday were appropriate, but witnesses say they're still in shock.

"In a sense of a place like the beach when you come to enjoy with your family, kind of be able to kick back, I think it's the worst kind of scenario you could have and stuff to lose their life out here," said Rodney Atwood, another witness.

Friends and family that continue to ask why are starting to embrace a sense of closure now that Jamarcus Bell has been found.

The Medical Examiner's Office is determining the exact cause of death for Bell.

Authorities continue to investigate the death and they don't suspect any foul play.

Yellow flags continued to fly on Sunday, which were the same color on Saturday when Bell went missing.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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