82ºF

'Such a good young man’: Friends remember 18-year-old boater who died after falling into St. Johns River

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A tragic ending to a nearly two-day search for 18-year-old Xavier Frazier.

Authorities found Frazier’s body in the St. Johns River around 9:45 Saturday morning.

Frazier fell overboard from a pontoon boat in choppy water near the entrance to Dunn’s Creek. He was reported missing Thursday afternoon.

A memorial was placed at the Browns Landing boat ramp and friends gathered there for a vigil Saturday evening.

At the vigil, Hayley Burkes put up a photo she says shows Frazier at his best.

“His smile is perfect,” Burkes said. “I mean, right now if Xavier saw all of this, he’d be in heaven he would literally be smiling ear to ear.”

She helped organize a vigil Saturday night for the teen she says is gone too soon.

“Xaiver was such a good young man. He is what we want our young men to be,” said Tommy Rodgers, the family’s pastor. “Everybody wants to try and understand whats going on and what happened, but right now we just need to love on Xavier’s family.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Frazier was a student in Interlachen.

News4Jax received several statements from loved ones.

His former classmate said: “He was one of the most selfless and kindest people I ever met.”

His former teachers writing on Facebook: “I’ll remember your hugs and silly stories for a lifetime.”

Putnam County School Superintendent Rick Surrency issued a statement about Frazier’s death:

“Xavier Frazier is loved very much by his school family, friends, and community. Our heart is saddened by his tragic loss and our school district prays for healing and peace for his family during this very difficult time.”

Authorities don’t know how many people were on board the boat and the cause of the accident still under investigation.

“This was not the outcome we wanted,” Sheriff DeLoach said in a statement. “Our prayers are with this family who have stayed vigilant at Browns Landing throughout the search. We know there is no closure in losing a loved one, but hopefully this will give peace of mind that he is home.”

Family members that were at the vigil didn’t want to talk on camera but they say they are grateful for everyone’s prayers and support.


About the Authors: