HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — 16-year-old Jacob Sayers was looking forward to a remarkable future. The outgoing Gulf High School sophomore was a star athlete, excelling in both football and wrestling.
In fact, Jacob had dreams of attending Ohio State on a football scholarship, and his family tells WFLA New Channel 8 that scouts were already watching his work. The teenager also had dreams of going into the military. He loved being a member of Gulf High’s ROTC unit where he had his sights set on the Navy.
This young man was going places and had big dreams. But sadly, Jacob was taken far too soon.
Through tears, his family gave a heartbreaking, detailed account of Jacob’s final moments of life where he was playing with his cousins in the water at Rogers Park in Weeki Wachee. His relatives watched as Jacob swam off to chase a beach ball.
They thought everything was fine, and moments later, tragedy struck. Jacob’s mother and aunt explained that he did not jump, but rather was this was a tragic accident. They maintain Jacob was pulled under by a strong current and never resurfaced.
The tears rolled down his aunt’s face as she told the story. “He was playing with his cousins and went to chase a beach ball outside of the swim zone. I saw him swimming. I thought he was fine. He never came back up. I began screaming, that’s my nephew! That’s my nephew,” Jacob’s aunt sobbed.
She went on to say that the strong, athletic teenager was pulled under the water and carried away.
His family wanted to set the record straight. They told WFLA “wrong information is out there.”
“He did not jump from the bridge at Rogers Park. He would never do that. We have strict rules in our family that no one jumps into a body of water like this, because we just don’t know what’s underneath. He was not attempting suicide, he was not being careless. He never jump off that bridge. He never got out of the water,” his aunt says.
The family was told that the teenager hit his head when the current pulled him under and was killed. He received emergency treatment when paramedics arrived and was rushed to Oak Hill Hospital. Jacob could not be resuscitated.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said that it was initially believed that Jacob jumped from the bridge, but on Tuesday, one day after the teen’s death, the sheriff’s office said Jacob did not jump.
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