Search For Putnam County Deputy Sheriff In St. Johns River


B. SmithUpdated: 5:58 p.m. Friday, April 1:

A search and rescue operation in the St. Johns River is underway for a missing person, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday.

The office confirmed the missing boater is Deputy Brandee Smith of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 4:42 a.m. Friday reporting a boating accident involving two people on the St. Johns River near the town of Welaka.

She was off duty and with her boyfriend on the water early this morning when their boat hit a reflective marker. Deputies responding to the call determined the 14-inch skiff boat the pair was traveling in struck a channel marker in the river, ejecting Smith from the boat.


The sheriff’s office is currently conducting the search in coordination with the Putnam County Fire Department Marine and Florida Fish and Wildlife Marine units.

The U.S. Coast Guard along Fish and Wildlife has sent helicopters to search the area.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

About Graham Hall

Graham is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

Check Also

Chabad UF Jewish Student Center increases security after Friday vandalism

The Chabad UF Jewish Student Center, listed on its website as the “heart of Jewish …