GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – UPDATE: Tuesday, July 22 – Gulf Shores officials said they have found the body of missing swimmer, 17-year-old Chaston Brown. They said they found Brown in an area near the Pink Pony.
Richard Lee Barker was enjoying a day at the beach with his wife and son when around 1:30 p.m. he spotted something in the water.
“I came up to the patrol up here to get them to go out in the water to see what it is and they found it was a body,” Barker said.
The body of Chaston Brown, 17, was brought to shore where it was quickly surrounded by lifeguards and shielded from the public.
“As soon as officers arrived on scene, we contacted the family to notify them immediately,” Cpl. Josh Coleman, a spokesman for the Gulf Shores Police Department, said.
The spot where Brown’s body was found was not far from where he went missing on Sunday afternoon.
Barker said the sight was something he’ll never forget.
I’ve got an 18-year-old myself so it’s the worst fear thinking about that at the beach,” Barker said.
No funeral arrangements have been confirmed at the time of this report.
SUNDAY: The search for a missing swimmer was suspended for the night around 7 p.m. Sunday, according to the Gulf Shore Police Department.
Police said their search began after receiving a swimmer in distress call around 4 p.m.
Fire officials tell Fox10 News a police boat and an Alabama State Trooper helicopter were searching the waters up until 7 p.m. when that part of the search was suspended due to light and surf conditions.
Friends of the missing swimmer told Fox10 News Chaston Brown was a 17-year-old from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The group was down on vacation after attending a track meet for their friend, Tyler Miller, in Mobile. They decided to come down to beach by Island Winds East to go swimming earlier Sunday.
“We really just want to be able to find his body, that way we can set up some type of funeral service and get something done because I hate to let it go and not do anything about it because he was close to us. We’ve all known him for about five years. He was like a great friend. He was a brother to us,” Miller said.
Police said the search “will resume in the morning as soon as surf conditions allow.”
FOX10 News will update this story when more details are available.