GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The family of a Gloucester teen who went missing Friday is remembering his life.
Chandler “Chad” Shetterly’s family says he disappeared at the Gloucester Point Beach while swimming. Officials say someone walking on the beach Sunday morning found the 13-year-old’s body.
“I’m trying to cope and I love him so much. It has not been the same since the last couple of days. It’s too quiet,” said his mother Cynthia Shetterly.
Shetterly says she was at home recovering from knee surgery while Chandler and other family members were at the beach. She got a call from her daughter saying Chandler had gone missing and first responders were searching for him in the water.
When Shetterly arrived at the beach, she was surprised to find Chandler’s life jacket on the sand. She says he had epilepsy, always wore it in the water and always made sure another adult was with him.
“I had hoped they would find him somewhere else. Maybe that life jacket is sitting there because he did get out of the water and they didn’t see him. It wasn’t until this morning that the hope was gone. That hope was gone,” she said.
The Shetterlys say they have closure because his body was found.
Chandler was getting ready to start eighth grade at Page Middle School. His family remembers him as a loving person. They say he was always outside either tinkering around with equipment or riding his four-wheeler.
She’s telling her other children, including his twin sister, to remain strong in their faith because he’s no longer suffering from medical problems.
“I said blessings with him, prayers. I brought these kids to church. I know he’s in heaven and not sick anymore. He’s in a loving place, not sick, not suffering, not on medicine. I’m trying to be happy for him and move on because he would not want me crying. Not Chandler. Never seen a kid that happy,” she said.
The Shetterlys say they’ve received a lot of support from their church, employees at Chandler’s school, and others in the community. They want to thank the person who found his body on the beach and first responders who searched for him.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.
A candlelight vigil was held for Chandler Monday evening at Gloucester Point Beach. A crowd gathered in his honor, including first responders from Newport News and Abingdon. A scripture was read. Colorful rocks painted by Gloucester Rocks spelled out “CHAD” in the sand.
“I want them to be able to see that they’re far from alone with what they’re going through,” said Amanda Robbins, a family friend who organized the gathering. “When something happens in Gloucester, everybody comes together.”