Friends, church family mourn drowned teen

18-year-old drown after jumping into St. Johns River on Wednesday

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family and friends of the high school senior who drowned in the St. Johns River on Wednesday say the teen was on the fast track for success.

The youth ministry at the First United Pentecostal Church of Jacksonville is holding a special meeting Thursday night to share stories about Rueben Dachoute and share their grief.

Pastor John Hopkins says his church family is devastated, to learn the 18-year-old was swept away by strong currents and drowned in the St. Johns River after jumping in

Hopkins says Rueben was mature beyond his years.

"He just had this personality that was so uplifting and every time we had a service, if he wasn't ministering, he was praying," Hopkins said. "He wouldn't just pray for himself, he'd pray for others. He was a very selfless individual."

Rueben was two months away from graduation from Paxon School for Advanced Studies and he wanted to study astrophysics in college.

Rueben played the guitar, the saxophone and also the drums. Friends said he could turn anything into a song.

His close friend, Kyle Hildebrand, says the memories of impromptu singing sessions with Rueben make him smile and cry at the same time.

"I just can't believe I'll never get to see him again," said  it's crazy, he was a good friend," said Kyle Hildebrand.

"Life is so short -- you never know when it's going to end," Hildebrand said. "It could end tonight, tomorrow morning. It could end right now and it's so short. He had so much life ahead of him, and such big plans."

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