Tragedy struck a young newlywed couple Tuesday when the husband, an aspiring pastor, drowned at a Florida beach.
Dalton Cottrell and his wife Cheyenne were enjoying their honeymoon at Crescent Beach in Saint Augustine, Fla., when they decided to venture out into the water for a swim.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department, Dalton quickly found himself struggling in the water, as the current swept both of them out into the ocean. As Cheyenne attempted to rescue her husband, he began to panic and instinctively began to pull her underwater.
After being submerged underwater for about a minute, Hedrick said her husband surfaced momentarily, at which point she saw his eyes roll back in his head.
Beachgoer William Loy heard the couple’s cry for help and immediately alerted the lifeguard. Cottrell was dragged out to the beach, but he was unconscious. Despite efforts to save him, including CPR, the young adult was confirmed dead at a local hospital a short time later.
“3 days of wedded bliss turned into a nightmare very quickly for the Cottrell family as well as my own,” Cheyenne Cottrell wrote on Facebook July 31.
Her post continued:
“Yesterday afternoon while at the beach the Lord decided to call my husband Dalton to come home to Him. There is so much fear and uncertainty coursing through myself. My parents came down early this morning to be with me as I begin the next journey. Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly. Please pray for I and all families as we grief. Right now there is no details for a funeral, but we will know more in the next several days. I love you so much Dalton Cottrell.”
Both Dalton and Cheyenne were seniors at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa. In a statement on the tragedy, the school noted that the pair had been married on Saturday in Kansas City.
“Dalton was from Malcom, Iowa, and was a Pastoral Training major. He was a junior class representative for the Student Association, and he and Cheyenne had recently completed their junior years at Faith,” the school said.
The school’s president, Dr. Jim Tillotson, added that he recently lost his mom in a tragic accident. With that experience fresh in his mind, Tollotson said that “it was not advice that I needed but love, prayers, and support.” He urged the same thing for loved ones linked to this tragedy.
“I would like to encourage Eagle Nation to pray for, love, and support both Cheyenne and Dalton’s family,” Jim wrote. “Let’s go heavy on love and light on advice. It is moments like this that Eagle Nation means the most. May we do all we can to support all of them through this difficult time.”
Many commented on the college’s announcement with words of prayer and condolence.
“This is heartbreaking,” one person wrote. “May the God of all comfort uphold and support as only He can.”
“I just can’t even begin to know what to say. There are no words sufficient enough to even make a dent in the hurt you are feeling right now,” another person commented on a picture of the pair, posted by Cheyenne. “All i can do is PRAY!! God is at your side and will see you through this. Our family loves you.”