SJSO: Man dies in apparent drowning during honeymoon trip to beach in St. Augustine

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Dalton Cottrell, 22, of Iowa, died Tuesday afternoon in an apparent drowning incident during a trip to the beach in St. Augustine, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say Dalton Cottrell, and his new wife Cheyenne Hedrick, also 22, were swept out to sea by a rip current.

The two had been married for three days.

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According to the police report, Cottrell "started to freak out" and Hedrick tried to help him after he began to struggle but "was unable to help due to him pulling her under."

A person who heard screams coming from the ocean grabbed his paddleboard and was able to grab Cottrell and bring him back to the beach, where lifeguards started to perform life-saving measures.

Chloe Molinaro was on the beach Tuesday with her friends as rescuers tried to save Cottrell’s life.

“So many people were hovering over,” she said. "They knew it wasn’t going to turn out well.”

He was taken to Flagler Hospital where he was pronounced deceased, SJSO said.

Action News Jax reporter Ryan Nelson spoke to the Hedrick over the phone who was too emotional to speak. She allowed us to share what she wrote on Facebook: "Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly. Please pray for I and all families."

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