Remains found on Fernandina Beach

Police: Remains could be those of swimmer reported missing over weekend

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla – The Fernandina Beach Police Department is fairly sure that human remains found on the beach early Tuesday morning are those of a 32-year-old man who disappeared in the surf Saturday afternoon while trying to save two teenage relatives.

The remains were found by a patrol officer at 5:10 a.m. in the surf near the 600 block of South Fletcher Avenue. Based on the time frame, the distance that the remains traveled and the condition of the remains, police said it's extremely likely that they are the remains of Steve Shaw of Valdosta, Georgia.

"We don't want to say for certain that it's not one of the Talbot Island swimmers, but all indications are pointing more closely to the person that went missing on Saturday," Fernandina Beach Deputy Chief Mark Foxworth said. "However, we can't make any positive identification. We're only going on what evidence we have at this point."

The remains were taken to the Jacksonville medical examiner's office, where doctors will try to confirm the identity through DNA testing.

Shaw went into the ocean Saturday afternoon when his niece and nephew and two other teenagers began struggling in rough surf. The teens were rescued, but Shaw never resurfaced.

"We definitely believe that his actions were heroic. He was trying to save family members, and in that split second, when he had to make that decision, he did what he felt he needed to do," Foxworth said.

Police said they have notified Shaw's family that it's possible that his body has been recovered.

"If they find someone, at least they've got some closure," beachgoer Daniel Bohannon said. "It's still traumatic for anyone to go through that sort of thing, to lose a loved one. I pray for people to find out stuff like that, of course."