Body found at Florida beach identified as missing teenager, officials say

A body was recovered Monday morning on a beach in Brevard County, several miles from where a teenager went missing on Friday, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

On Monday afternoon, the sheriff's office said the body was that of 18-year-old Benjamin Pierre Gilles, who was in town for Spring Break and went missing while in the water at Indialantic Beach. That beach was about 11 miles north of Floridana Beach, where his body was discovered Monday morning by people walking the beach.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Coast Guard searched 106 square miles between Friday and Saturday for Gilles, but suspended the search late Saturday pending new information. In an update, BCSO said Gilles was last seen around 1:30 p.m. Friday and appeared to be in distress while in the water. 

"We offer our deepest sympathies to the family," said Lt. Rian Ellis, search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, in a prepared statement. "Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders and it is never made lightly."

Much of the coastline of Florida – both on the Gulf of Mexico side and Atlantic Ocean side – have been under "high" rip current risks the last several days, including where the teen went missing. Other areas remain under moderate risk, according to the National Weather Service's website.

Rip currents are defined as "powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from show," and can happen at any beach with breaking waves. When the risk is high, those rip currents are considered to be dangerous and can be life-threatening to anyone entering the water.

If caught in a current, here are tips to follow:

  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly
  • Do not fight against the current
  • Swim out of the current in a direction that follows the shoreline
  • If unable to swim out, float or calmly tread water
  • Draw attention to yourself by yelling for help and waving you arms

Anyone with information about the incident are asked to contact the Brevard County Sheriff's Office at 321-633-8413.