It should have been the happiest time for a pair of newlyweds from Iowa. Instead, it was the worst.
While Cheyenne Hedrick and Dalton Cottrell, both 22, were on their honeymoon in St. Augustine, Florida, when Cottrell drowned and died.
"Three days of wedded bliss turned into a nightmare very quickly for the Cottrell family as well as mine own," Hedrick wrote on Facebook.
Photo: Cheyenne Hedrick/Facebook
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On Tuesday afternoon, the couple was caught in a rip current while swimming in the ocean. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, a surfer assisted a lifeguard in the rescue when he heard "yelling coming from the ocean." The surfer and lifeguard brought Cottrell back to shore where they attempted life-saving measures, including CPR, according to the sheriff's office.
Hedrick told the responding officer that they had been swimming, but got pulled further out due to the strong current. She said she tried to help him, but struggled to do so as he kept pulling her under.
According to the report, witnesses estimated Cottrell had been underwater for about one minute. Hedrick said it had been Cottrell's "first time ever in the ocean and started to freak out," according to the report.
Cottrell was transported to Flagler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the report.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover funeral costs. As of Thursday evening, it had exceeded its $20,000 goal, raising over $24,000.
Cottrell and Hedrick met at Faith Baptist Bible College, where they had completed their junior years before getting married, according to the Des Moines Register. Cottrell was studying to become a pastor.
"Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly," Hedrick said in her Facebook post.