Body of missing 19-year-old boater found, Flagler County deputies say

Matthew Otis last seen on boat in Halifax River


FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Officials with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said they found the body of a 19-year-old man who was last seen on a boat Sunday evening in the Intercoastal.

Deputies said they responded to a water rescue at 234 Ocean Palm Drive at 6:35 p.m. Matthew Otis, 19, of Palm Coast, was on a recreational boat on the Halifax River with his friends when he was last seen, deputies said.

Sheriff's Office officials said Otis' body was found Monday around 3 p.m.

Florida Fish and Wildlife, and the Flagler County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit and Dive Team assisted with the search for Otis.

A friend who called 911 after Otis went in the water said he couldn't swim. According to the FWC report, Otis and four of his friends were on a boat a quarter-mile south of Gamble Rogers State Park when he went missing. Everyone jumped in the water, but Otis stayed on the boat, the 911 caller said, when they returned to the boat Otis was gone, his friends told FWC officials.

"My buddy jumped in and he can't swim and I cannot find him," the 911 caller said.

Otis' body was taken to St. Augustine for an autopsy.