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Mom to hold vigil for son found in submerged SUV

Douglas Swanson last seen leaving party in December; found in a retention pond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends will celebrate the life of a Jacksonville father who died after leaving a party in December, during a vigil Friday night.

Police found Douglas Swanson's body inside in an SUV, submerged in a retention pond on the Southside.

Swanson's mother said this is what her son would've wanted. He would not have wanted everyone to be sad, but instead remember him by the water which he loved. She said everybody has to heal and this is the first step.

"Well that was my worst nightmare. That was absolutely my worst nightmare," said Sheril Swanson.

Sheril Swanson was talking about the moment police found her son Douglas inside his SUV submerged in a retention pond. The 28-year-old father been missing since December after he left a party.

"I kept hoping that we were going to find him just wandering around, not knowing where he was supposed to be," said Swanson.

In the midst of her grief, she decided to plan an event to celebrate her son's life.

"We want people to share all their happy memories, all dear Joy, all their sorrow because that's how we're going to get through it," said Swanson.

They're coming together at Hanna Park; it's fitting, because Swanson said her son loved the water and people.

Swanson said they'll celebrate his life while sharing stories.

"I need to hear them. I know that he was loved by so many and I really truly in my heart believe that the sharing is a step in the healing process," said Swanson.

The event will be held at Hanna Park Friday from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. in Pavilions 1, 2 and 3.

Swanson said anyone is more than welcome to come out. A more formal ceremony is expected to be held Saturday afternoon.

If you would like to help the family, there is an account set up for Douglas' son, Bryce Roumillat, at Navy Federal Credit Union. Use the account number 8531074.