‘A Great Man': Family and Friends Remember Palm Beach Deputy Killed in Boating Accident

Family and friends are remembering a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy who was killed along with his son and stepfather in a boating accident as a great man and father.

Fernandas Jones died along with his 9-year-old son Jayden and stepfather Willis Bell in the boating accident off Hobe Sound Sunday. Their bodies were found Monday morning.

"I can say he's a great man. He's the best friend I had in my life. He's a good neighbor, everyone loved him," best friend Ever Suazo said, speaking about Jones Tuesday.

Jones was a Palm Beach corrections officer, but before that, he did the same job in Miami for 17 years. He was revered as an exceptional man in his quiet Port St. Lucie neighborhood, where family members remained in disbelief.

"He taught me how to take care of my family. I didn't have a father so he stepped in, in a sense, taught me a lot, gave me my morals," cousin Shanaris Frager said.

Jones had been with the PBSO for a year and a half.

"We have family members and we have lives just like everyone else. And when a tragedy hits, it hits hard, just like every family member who loses somebody," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.

The lone survivor of the accident was a cousin, Robert Stewart. Stewart remained in serious condition at Martin Medical Center in Stuart Tuesday but released a statement.

"My family and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this very difficult time," the statement read. "This is a profound tragedy for all of us who knew and loved Fernandas, Jayden and Mr. Willis. My thoughts and prayers are now, and always will be, with them and their families. This is an incredibly emotional time and I am grateful for the outpouring of support while we continue to grieve the loss of our loved ones."

Jones' wife said they'd owned the boat involved in the incident for about five years. She also said they had recently bought a GPS system that sets off a distress signal when it hits the water, but the system had been left at home.

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