(WGNO) - “We’re wanting to help, but we couldn’t do anything but just kind of wait with them and just embrace them however we could,” explains Pastor Lonnie Tucker of Stillwater Baptist in Ponchatoula.
Tucker has been by Connie Brown’s side since Monday. The two have been in Gulf Shores, Alabama hoping for a miracle after 17-year-old Chaston brown disappeared.
“He wasn’t the best swimmer that’s why we didn’t have him go so deep, but what we believe is that a sandbar, you know they shift whenever the waves come through, so we’re thinking they were all sitting on the sandbar, it was about 5o yards out, and the sandbar just came out from under them,” says Chaston’s friend Tyler Miller.
Miller says a wave pushed Chaston further out.
Connie Brown, Chaston’s father, says he got a phone call about what happened and arrived in Gulf Shores hours later. He says his son was born and raised in Ponchatoula and was a student at Ponchatoula High where he played football and ran track. He says he was with his track friends when he went under while in the beach at Gulf Shores on Sunday.
Police say red flags were up that day indicating dangerous surf and rip currents. Now family and friends are in shock
“We were like heartbroken. We didn’t even know what to do. We just prayed and prayed hoping that he would be holding on to something,” says Chaston’s brother Carzell Brown.
On Tuesday afternoon, nearly two days after Chaston went missing Gulf Shores, police say a swimmer found his body near the public beach. Pastor Lonnie Tucker says it’s brought some closure to a family that’s just begun to mourn.
“It’s been our prayer all the way here, my wife, that the lord would not let this linger. You know, the loss is tough enough,” says Tucker, “The family has just been drained, and so now reality is just really setting in.”