Levy County deputies believe they have recovered some of the remains of Dylan Jerrels. He's the 17-year-old Steinbrenner High School student who was on a plane that crashed in Cedar Key in February
Divers recovered the body of Dylan's dad, Jasper Jerrels and his father's finance Hue Singletary shortly after the crash.
But for days there was no sign of Dylan, a senior at Steinbrenner High School.
His mother Sarah made a tearful plea on Action News. A man living hours away in Fort Walton Beach saw it and felt compelled to help, bringing the family some peace
Speaking via Skype, you could hear the emotion in Dan Griffith's voice on finding what's believed to be Dylan Jerrels's remains.
"I think that gave her a little bit of comfort that somebody was still looking for her son," said Griffith.
Sarah Jerrel's, Dylan's mom, and his uncle Craig Goldstein made an emotional plea the day crews pulled the remnants of the small plane from the Gulf.
"Dylan needs to be found, our family needs closure," said Goldstein.
Six hours away, Dan heard their cries for help. Now retired, he's dedicated his life to helping families like Dylan's. He started his own independent search form called Florida Sonar Search Team.
He has purchased thousands in sonar equipment. He loaded up his boat and headed to the crash site in Cedar Key.
"I get emotional about it." said Griffith.
He scanned the area for two days and came up with sonar images just 200 feet from where the single engine Piper Cherokee went down.
"I knew that I had additional objects that needed to examined by divers, and that is what we worked off of," said Griffith.
And he is grateful Levy County deputies listened.
"I am a privateer here. I do this on my own and law enforcement doesn't always want me involved frankly," said Griffith.
But the sheriff made it his personal mission to help find Dylan. He sent a dive team and based on Griffith's images, they found remains.
And while It could take up to a year for a DNA match, deputies believe it is the 17-year-old. Sarah Jerrels also believes it is, and sent the following message:
"As much as we all wanted a different outcome, I finally have my closure. I have asked for no physical details. I want to preserve my memory." said Sarah Jerrels
"The grief is still there and it's going to be there. We wish them a little bit of comfort knowing their loved one is home," said Griffith.
Griffith volunteered all his time and money. The search still isn't over. Levy county spokesperson Lt. Scott Tummomd said divers will go back to the area at the end of the week to look for more remains.
Dylan's mom is now starting a scholarship fund in her son's name.
Sarah Jerrels posted this message for all those who have shown their support
Friends and family,
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 19 days ago, my life changed. I have been through something no one should ever go through, but I'm stronger than ever.
Today, God has brought Dylan home.
Although the ending isn't happy, I am at peace knowing he is near me but truly with his dad.
The Levy County Sheriff's office (Scott Trummund), Dan Griffith, Brian Cummings, my family and friends never gave up. I never gave up on my son even when others thought I should. God was waiting for me to be ready.
Please take this time to reach out to your loved ones. Make peace with those you've had differences with. Never forgot what is important in life.
Dylan never had an enemy and never hesitated in giving a hug. He never hesitated to tell me he loved me. We should all be more like Dylan.
I love you all.