SANDERSON, Fla. – Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday night for the 14-year-old boy who drowned last week in the St. Marys River near Glen St. Mary.
Hundreds gathered for the vigil for Jacoby Clayton at Jonesville Park in Sanderson, Florida. Those in attendance included family members, Baker County Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson and deputies from the Baker County Sheriff's Office, who paid their respects and directed traffic.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Jacoby was at St. Marys Shoals Park with a group of friends Friday afternoon when he jumped off a rope swing and was overtaken by the water.
Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said the children with Jacoby tried unsuccessfully to rescue him.
Kendrick Clayton, Jacoby's father, described last Friday as his worst nightmare when his family received a phone call from the Sheriff's Office, telling them to rush to Shoals Park because his son had drowned.
"I couldn't do nothing. It was too late. He already, God had already called him home," Kendrick Clayton said. "When I got there, he was still in the water. So, my first reaction was to hit the water, see if I could do anything."
Friends, classmates and teachers were also among the sea of people wearing red and holding up the letter 'C' for "Coby."
"(He) always made people smile and laugh," said Sakinah Farmer, Jacoby's second cousin.
Emily Hodges, one of Jacoby's classmates, said, "Everyone really loved him. He made everybody laugh. He was a really sweet person."
Though poems and songs won't bring the teen back, he will always be remembered as the teen who could brighten up anyone's day.
Lashaunti Mosley, Jacoby's first cousin, said, "When I was always down, he made me smile. He knows how to pick you up again."
"He was a great kid. I miss him dearly," said Kendrick Clayton. "I wish you was here with me but God loves him more and I love God for that."
There will be a funeral at 2 p.m. Sunday at Emmanuel Church of God and Christ in Macclenny.