Tragedy struck a Liberty County family last week when a man and his young grandchild drowned in the Apalachicola River.
Donald Eugene Jacobs, 60, of Bristol, and his four-year-old granddaughter, Alayha (pictured above), will be laid to rest in a joint funeral service planned Thursday morning at Lake Mystic Baptist Church.
According to Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel, the case began Thursday evening. Eugene reportedly grabbed some snacks, then picked up little Alayha for an afternoon of fishing on the family’s houseboat. When the pair did not return as expected, family members became concerned and decided to check on them. They found fishing lines still out, but no sign of Eugene or Alayha on the houseboat. Their shoes and life jackets were in the boat.
Although the Jacobs houseboat is located just across from the Bristol boat landing, it is technically in Calhoun County, sending the case to that jurisdiction. However, rescue workers from all over the region converged in the big river to help.
Alayha’s body was discovered about dark Thursday night on a tree branch protruding from the water a couple hundred yards from the houseboat. Her grandfather was not found until Friday evening, about 25 to 30 feet south of the houseboat.
Authorities speculate one of the pair fell into the water and the other went in after them. It is unclear who went in first. A friend of the family reports Eugene Jacobs did have a history of heart problems.
Assisting in the search was the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Calhoun County Search and Rescue, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as well as rescue teams from Bay, Gulf and Leon counties.
Both obituaries can be found on page 10 in the print edition.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those family and friends involved. May you all be comforted during this time in your lives.
06/01/13 at 12:27 AM
My heart goes out to this family whom I grew up with and know dearly! They were all great people for something this tragic to happen, I could not begin to fathom the emotions they may be feeling at this very time! I love you guys and may god be with you through this difficult time. :'(