DESTIN — A Fourth of July beach party turned deadly for a man after he disappeared while wading in water late Wednesday night and his body was found by divers Thursday morning.


According to a press release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, 20-year-old Pethiley Deusete Lopez Maximo of Destin was last seen by his friends about 8 p.m. Wednesday wading in waist-high water near the west side of the Marler Bridge.

Maximo, who could not swim, was reported missing later. Crews from the Coast Guard and the Sheriff's Office searched for him by air and by water, and a Sheriff's Office dive team found his body in the water off the west side of the bridge Thursday morning, not far from where he had last been seen.

Authorities say Maximo, who was from Brazil, had been attending a Fourth of July beach party with his friends. His belongings were still on the beach when officials began looking for him.

The cause of death won’t be officially determined until an autopsy is completed, but authorities say he likely drowned.

Maximo’s death happened on an otherwise calm day for beach safety officials. Walton County Beach Safety Director David Vaughan said his lifeguards had a “surprisingly quiet” Fourth of July holiday. There were only a few water rescues, and none required hospitalization.

Okaloosa County Beach Safety Director Rich Huffnagle said the beach on Okaloosa Island was crowded Wednesday, but lifeguards did not perform any rescues or public assists.

In Destin, Beach Safety Director Joe D’Agostino said lifeguards had a busy day Tuesday, pulling 43 people from the water, including three who had to be taken to hospitals. However, D’Agostino said things were quiet Wednesday.

Things were also quiet on Navarre Beach, according to firefighter Matt Harris.

Maximo is the second person to drown near the Marler Bridge so far this year. In May, 36-year-old Essie Mitchell of Mobile, Alabama, died in an apparent drowning at Crab Island.