Body pulled from Amelia Island surf identified

By Adrienne Moore, Weekend anchor, reporter, amoore@wjxt.com
Published On: Sep 02 2014 07:37:56 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 03 2014 05:37:11 PM EDT

The man's body was found floating near the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island. It is unclear how long the man had been in the water before he was found. The cause of death will be looked to see if there was foul play, if it was a suicide, or if it was an accident.

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -

Nassau County deputies have identified the man who's body was pulled from the surf off Amelia Island on Tuesday evening as 64-year-old Enrique Ortega.

His family in Jacksonville reported him missing about 8:20 p.m. Monday.

Investigators said it appears Ortega drowned in the ocean near the Scott Road Beach Access, just south of the Ritz-Carlton hotel.  His car was found Tuesday afternoon on Heckscher Drive on Big Talbot Island.

Investigators said Ortega was found floating in the water about 20-30 yards off the shore around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“He had partial clothes on,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. “I don't believe he had any pants on, but he did have a shirt and underwear (and) socks. But no other identification.”

Investigators said two witnesses spotted Ortega floating and pulled him to shore before calling 911.

Deputies said they don't believe Ortega was staying in the area. His vehicle was found on Big Talbot Island on Tuesday afternoon.

Lifeguards in the area had been warning people about rip current risks over the Labor Day holiday.

“Certainly the water has been rough lately due to the weather, (and) the current conditions as far as the ocean currents,” Leeper said. “We don't know if that played a part in it or not because he was clothed, so we don't know why he was in the water.”

It's unclear how long Ortega had been in the water when the two witnesses spotted him or if there were any other injuries to his body. An autopsy will be completed within the next few days.

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