On May 2006, 28 Jewel Strong, was in a raft with a teenage relative at Jetty Beach in Panama City Beach when she allegedly drowned after it capsized. Her remains were never recovered. Since then, her parents maintain she has allegedly been spotted at various locations in Florida.
This past week, the parents of a young California boy, who apparently drowned, are experiencing a similar loss of a child.
Search-and-rescue teams ended their efforts Thursday to find a 9-year-old Arroyo Grande boy who was apparently swept out to sea from a Santa Barbara County beach that officials say is known for its dangerous conditions.
A friend last saw Laurence Kailanii Brannum about 10 a.m. Wednesday as he played in tide pools at Paradise Beach near Point Sal State Beach. That is at the north end of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Lt. George Gingras said.
“He was rock hopping from one rock to another,” Gingras said. “He jumped from a rock to another rock and a wave came and surrounded the rock he was standing on, and he tried to jump back onto the previous rock, and he didn’t make it.”
The boy was swept into the current and not seen again . Gingras said the boy had been camping at Paradise Beach with a group of friends since Tuesday evening.
In a statement to the community his mother had a much different reaction to the loss of her child.
This is sent out to our community that we love and appreciate more than you will EVER know. This short story is about our lil’ guy, Laurence Kailanii Brannum, who is known by Kailanii. I am his mommy, that’s what he called me. My name is Debbi Jicay Lynn Brannum. Many people in the community are joining us in this shocking and sorrowful time of the loss of our little man, here’s a portion of who Kailanii Brannum age 9 was, and still is.
Kailanii was the comedian of our family, he made us ALL laugh and giggle and his joyful happy-go-lucky disposition cured all of our “bad days.” He had a servants heart and he had two speeds fast and faster. Our little man lived life to the fullest, he was on a mission and that mission was to learn all, take risks, talk often (much to his New Life preschool and Harloe teachers amazement!). He was adored by all that knew him, and although he had a difficult time following directions, his sweet beautiful face and charm allowed him to get miles and miles of grace from his consequences. He could talk his way out of any trouble… literally.
Kailanii’s love for adventure was strong, he was confident in and his self-esteem was secure. He was not afraid, he had the attitude to live and live well. He would NEVER let any negative remark that was made to him ever define who he was. It just rolled off of him. Something we all could learn from him.
Kailanii lived life on the edge. He adored teasing all of his brothers and sisters, he could be annoying in a playful attitude, he just loved to have fun 24/7. He loved any small living critters, including lizards, spiders, yuck, I know. (smile) But he did have such a fascination with nature, science and learning. Kailanii knew he was a child of God, he was interested in learning anything he could learn about spiritually, just one week ago, he told his older sister, Amanda this, “I just can’t wait to see Jesus!”
He loved to recite and to memorize scripture and his latest one was Micah 6:8. He respected and loved God greatly and he was most impressed with his great love, he never blamed God for anything that went wrong, he realized from a very young age that we are all given free will, and he knew it was choices we make that makes our life what it is. He was a deep thinker, strong willed child who melted our hearts and changed us daily.
Kailanii was passionate about peanut butter, bananas, and frozen yogurt with as many toppings he was allowed. He was the first up in our family every morning, starting from 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. he would open my door and always say, “Good morning, Mommy. How did you sleep?” I would respond with a sleepy, “I’m still sleeping.” Oh, well I love you Mommy and I made you coffee, get up and hang out. That was hard to turn down. Everyone that knew him would agree that he had unlimited amount of energy. Such a life giver, encourager and child, sweet Kailanii. We miss and love you already.
Kailanii was CRAZY about sports, his first love was soccer, and he was quite talented in this sport, he had to be where the ball was and seldom paid much attention to the position the coaches would place him in. He was just completely in his own “Kailanii” world. He loved his friends, all of them and he had plenty of them. He has a wonderful role model mentor and his wife, Allan and Jackie, Kailanii adored both of them, and they along with all of us will miss Kailanii’s abundance joy and zeal for life.
Kailanii’s biological, adopted, and extension siblings are all in total shock and grief beyond words, but they are filled with peace that Kailanii is still exploring adventures beyond this life. Heaven. His siblings along with myself thank you, our precious community, for your unconditional love and support. You have been PARAMOUNT and a Strong Rock in our time of change, and challenges. Kailanii’s siblings Vanessa, Mikahla, Tashann, Joshua, Amanda & Arron, Chandler & Charlie Ann, Caleb, Sara, Joy & Andy, Isabelle, Cainnon, Amber, Jenna, Lauren, Seth, Georgia, Chuck, Noah, Carissa & Cameron, Danielle, Megan, Jeremy, John and me, Debbi Jicay send thanks for standing alongside of us as we do the hardest thing in life, saying goodbye to our much loved and adored Kailanii. We share this story so that you would know a little more about this Arroyo Grande, 9-year-old boy that was lost in the sea, and found in Heaven, and forever and always in our hearts.
Dearly loved, forever cherished and never forgotten. May God bless us ALL.
Many have asked in the Community where the Kailanii memorial sites are, they are as follows.
Bank of America in the Village of Arroyo Grande
And as well at:
New Life Community Church
990 James Way
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Also, Kailanii Brannum’s Memorial Service is this Friday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m.
New Life Community Church
990 James Way
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
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