Body Found in Laguna Beach Surf Positively I.D.'d as Missing Teen Anthony Parnell: Update

High surf can be deadly.
High surf can be deadly.
Photo by Eric Hood/OC Weekly

UPDATE NO. 2, FEB. 19, 11:35 A.M.: The body that washed up in Laguna Beach around 4 p.m. Wednesday has positively been identified as 18-year-old Anthony Parnell of Las Vegas, according to sheriff's officials. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

UPDATE NO. 1, FEB. 18, 6:01 P.M.: A body washed up in Laguna Beach today near where 18-year-old Anthony Parnell of Las Vegas went missing two Sundays ago. The county coroner was on the scene.

ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 10, 6:08 P.M.: A high-surf warning continues through this afternoon along the Orange County coast, where a teen was swept away over the weekend.

Heavy surf pulled 18-year-old Anthony Parnell of Las Vegas, Nevada, under the ocean surface off Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach around 1:35 p.m. Sunday, according to Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority.

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Three friends with Parnell alerted lifeguards, who launched a search that included boats and divers in the water and helicopters overhead before darkness suspended the rescue mission until daylight Monday.

Parnell may have been swept into a hole and could be lodged in a labyrinth of rocks below, OC Lifeguards chief Jason Young told the Orange County Register.

"That boy was scared of the ocean," his father, Foster Parnell, told the Register. He said the teen, who'd played high school football in Las Vegas, was set to train this summer for the Army, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.

The father and his wife, Jennifer Parnell, are now camped at the beach and have issued the following statement:

Anthony was a wonderful human being. He was caring and very passionate. He loved his family and was incredibly close to his brothers.

He loved football, music and art. He was a wonderful athlete and he was looking forward to joining the military like his two older brothers. He had already signed up with the U.S. Army.

He loved to lie by the pool and he loved to cook. He respected his Centennial High coaches and he looked up to all of them.

In this very difficult time we ask that everyone respect our family and its privacy. Everyone out here (is) working very hard and we are so thankful for all of them, the fire department, the lifeguards, the Laguna Beach Police Department and the TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) volunteers.

"If (there are) treacherous waters, just look at them from a safe distance," Concialdi warned through City News Service.

It's a warning to be heeded through at least 4 p.m. today, the scheduled end time for the high-surf advisory issued by National Weather Service forecasters, who expect 5- to 8-foot surf as well as some 10-foot sets along southwest- and west-facing beaches in Orange County.

Powerful rip currents, long-shore currents, sneaker waves and minor beach erosion can also be expected, forecasters warn.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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