Young man exploring Laguna coastline swept out to sea; body found

Anthony Parnell was hiking this spot when he was swept out to sea.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The body of 18-year-old Anthony Parnell has been found. The young man -- a former high school football player who dreamed of serving in the U.S. Army -- was swept out to sea by a rogue wave Feb. 8.

Last week, his parents , other family and friends stood vigil on the Laguna Beach coastline as authorities combed the choppy waters, looking for his remains.

Parnell, of Las Vegas, and friends were apparently exploring Thousand Steps Beach and its rocky outcroppings when waves of 5 to 8 feet were hitting the coast.


Parnell and a 17-year-old girl were swept into the water. Friends were able to rescue the girl. But authorities believe Parnell was pulled into one of the cave-like openings in the rocks. He disappeared.

Lifeguards searched by boat and personal water craft but were unable to find him.

On Wednesday afternoon -- 10 days after Parnell’s disappearance -- his body was found floating in the water at Shell Beach in south Laguna.

A homeowner called in the report at 4:15 p.m. and a team of Orange County and Laguna Beach lifeguards took the body to an Orange County Sheriff’s Department boat, county lifeguards Capt. Brad Herzog said.

As she waited with searchers last week, Parnell’s mother, Jennifer, described her son as “a likable kid, respectful” who “comes from a good family who loves him very much.”

Alderton writes for Times Community News.