Families Share Grief After 3 Dads Were 'Swept Up in a Rip Current' While on Vacation

Harold Denzel Hunter, Jemonda Ray and Marius Richardson were enjoying time off in Florida at the time of the incident

<p>gofundme</p> Jemonda Ray


Jemonda Ray

Three families are mourning their loved ones who died after going swimming on vacation last week in Florida.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford identified Harold Denzel Hunter, 25, and Jemonda Ray and Marius Richardson, both 24, as the victims, AL.com, CNN and Alabama TV station WALA reported.

According to verified GoFundMe accounts from their relatives, the three men were traveling with friends and family at the time of the incident on Friday, June 21.

The swimmers — who were visiting Panama City Beach, Florida, from Alabama — became "distressed" in the water on Friday night, according to a news release from the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff’s office received a call around 8:11 p.m. local time reporting three swimmers in the Gulf behind a local condo building. One swimmer was located quickly and received medical care, while rescue efforts to save the other two continued.

Now the loved ones of the three men are sharing more about who they were and what their loss means.

Yalonda Spates set up a GoFundMe for Richardson, who was married to her cousin. "Your prayers are always needed and appreciated," she wrote.

<p>Getty</p> Panama City Beach, Florida -- stock image


Panama City Beach, Florida -- stock image

Richardson leaves behind wife Jasmine and her 2-year-old son, JaMari, according to Spates.

“The funds will be used to help Jasmine and baby JaMari navigate the days ahead,” Spates wrote.

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Hunter’s sister Selina Black wrote via a separate GoFundMe that the victims were part of a “a group of 6 cousins and friends" who had gone to the beach "for a quick, weekend getaway.”

According to Black, the group arrived on Friday and after going for a swim, three were “swept up in a rip current.”

“Harold, a cousin, and a family friend were pronounced deceased,” Black wrote. Hunter is survived by two children, a son and a daughter, who were not identified in the post.

<p>gofundme</p> Harold Hunter gofundme


Harold Hunter gofundme

“This was all so unexpected and hit the family hard. We will appreciate any and all blessings,” Black wrote.

Jayla Ray wrote via her brother Jemonda’s GoFundme account that "what was supposed to be a fun trip turned into a tragedy,”

Jemonda was remembered as “a brother, a son, a father, an uncle, and also a friend.”

“He will be missed dearly. We are grateful for any and all blessings,” his sister wrote.

His funeral is scheduled for Friday, June 28.

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<p>Getty</p> Panama City Beach, Florida


Panama City Beach, Florida

In a statement shared to Facebook on Saturday, June 22, Sheriff Ford thanked the community and first responders for their efforts while also expressing his grief.

“I witnessed so many people, including visitors to our community, come together last night on the beach to desperately search for them," Ford said.

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“The acts of courage by first responders were amazing. Many of our rescue swimmers with the Sheriffs Office, Bay County Emergency Services and Panama City Beach went into the dark and dangerous waters for over two hours to attempt to rescue and search for the young men,” Ford said. “I worry about the emotional toll that these situations take on first responders as I know I’m struggling with it as well.”

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