Callahan man and West Nassau High student found dead inside car in retention pond

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — The Nassau County community is mourning the loss of a young man and a teenage girl, who were both locals. The two friends were found inside a car that was submerged in a retention pond.


Close friends do not want to release the victims’ names until their families have been notified of their passing.

Investigators were called out to Wind Chime Lane, after a Mustang was found inside a retention pond at the end of the road, early Friday morning. Florida Highway Patrol said the driver was a 23-year-old male and the passenger was a 17-year-old female.

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A spokesperson with the Nassau County School District said the 17-year-old was a student at West Nassau High School. The district sent Action News Jax this statement:

“We are sad to report that one of the victims was a West Nassau High School student. This is such a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, teachers, and classmates. Our grief counselors were on campus today [Friday] and will be on campus next week to provide support for our students and staff.”

“She was ... happy, bubbly; always saw the bright side and good side of everything,” Susan Lawton said. “And she always made you laugh.”

Related Story: Man, teen girl found dead in crashed car in Callahan retention pond, Florida Highway Patrol says

Lawton and her goddaughter, Sierra Skipper, were close friends with the victims.

“I’m feeling hurt,” Skipper said. “No matter what, she was one of the closest friends I ever had.”

The 17-year-old was reported missing on Thursday night, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

“I got a phone call, like four phone calls at 3 o’clock this morning asking where they are,” Skipper said. She saw the 23-year-old Thursday night. “Last thing she told me was, ‘see you later.’”

Florida Highway Patrol said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

“It [the road] is signed with reflective DOT-type signage, and again a fence line is there surrounding that retention pond,” Master Sergeant Dylan Bryan said. “For whatever reason and reasons still under investigation, that vehicle proceeded through all of that and into the waterway.”

Wind Chime Lane is a dead-end road.