New schools to open under construction

ID=14113413PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Two new schools in St. Johns County won't be completely finished by the time students arrive on Monday.

Construction began early last year on Patriot Oaks Academy in the Durbin Crossing area and Valley Ridge Academy in Nocatee.

Both schools come with a price tag of more than $21 million and were included as part of the school district's five year facilities plan.

Approximately 1,000 pre-K through 7th grade students are expected to be enrolled in each school during their first years. Then, the schools will expand to include 8th graders beginning next year.

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Ponce de Leon statue vandalized

SOUTH PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- Juan Ponce de Leon's sword couldn't fend off the vandals who recently twisted it at the GTM Research Reserve in South Ponte Vedra.

The bronze statue of the Spanish explorer greets visitors who park at the GTM Research Reserve and walk to the beach.

"It's sad people can't respect something that was meant to be here to show and remember how this place was found," Carly Barber said as she walked to the beach.

Mickler's Landing drowning victim identified

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – St. Johns County Fire Rescue responded to an unresponsive young male at Mickler's Landing Tuesday afternoon.

St. Johns County Marine Rescue lifeguards spotted 20-year-old Thai Quoc Pham, a United Kingdom citizen in distress shortly before 3 p.m.

It appeared that Pham got caught in a rip current and began to struggle in the water about 50 yards from the beach, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

A lifeguard was able to reach Pham a short time later, however, he was already unresponsive when the lifeguard made contact.

Pham was pulled from the high surf and strong currents resulting from Hurricane Bertha and CPR was administered.

Pham was transported to Baptist Medical Center Beaches in critical condition and later passed away.

Police pull rattlesnake from Ponte Vedra beach

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- Some beach goers in Ponte Vedra got quite the surprise Sunday morning.

A ratttlesnake spotted in the middle of a parking lot between Mickler Beach and Guanna Park. Viewer Ron Sloan shared these pictures of what he says is four and a half foot long Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake with us.

He and his girlfriend were leaving the beach when he saw it curled up next to the boardwalk that leads to the parking lot from A1A.

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Documenting coastline before and after Arthur

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla -- There is the potential for erosion along the First Coast because of Arthur.

South Ponte Vedra Beach is a hot spot for erosion in St. Johns County, according to St. Johns County Engineer Press Tompkins.

Some of the homes that experienced severe erosion in the winter now have sea walls, and their owners are thankful for them.

Meanwhile, Tompkins foresees a minimal impact on the coastline.

Four injured after deck collapses in Ponte Vedra

Update: The Lutz family, who was injured when the deck collapsed Thursday, has been released from the hospital.

One of the family members sent First Coast News and update email: Everybody is recovering and will see orthopedist in Louisiana and South Carolina for fractures. We would like to thank the emergency response teams for the quick and expert care they provided. They were there in minutes and took wonderful care of us before we were transported to the Flagler Hospital. The care at the Flagler was also exceptional.

Body found at Ponte Vedra Beach identified

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A body found in the dunes of Ponte Vedra Beach was identified as a missing 50-year-old woman from Jacksonville.

A person walking their dog Sunday morning stumbled across the body of Yilka Martina Eusea of Jacksonville who was reported missing June 6, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. Eusea's body was found in the 800 block of N. Ponte Vedra Boulevard and appeared to have been there a while.

Eusea was last seen by her family June 3 wearing a black tee short, black capris with tiny martini glass print and light blue croc type shoes with a matching purse. Dental records along with artifacts found at the scene assisted in the identification of Eusea.

Detectives with the SJSO are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Eusea's death.