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Bone that washed ashore during Hurricane Irma belonged to Palm Beach County teen missing in 2013

Rodelson Normil
Posted at 7:02 AM, Jul 29, 2019

GULF STREAM, Fla. — Authorities have used DNA to figure out what happened to a Boynton Beach Community High School student six years after he disappeared while swimming in the surf off Palm Beach County.

Police in Gulf Stream notified Rodelson Normil's family last week that a bone that washed ashore during Hurricane Irma nearly two years ago belonged to the 17-year-old student.

The femur was found by a Gulf Stream family after the hurricane pounded South Florida in 2017.

Normil vanished on May, 31 2013 while swimming off the coast of Gulf Stream. A friend who was with Normil at the time said he saw the teen "get pulled out in the water and then disappeared," according to a police report.

"Unfortunately he got caught in a rip tide," said Sgt. John Passeggiata with the Gulf Stream Police Department. "He wasn't a very good swimmer and he went missing."

Police said that four years later, on Sept. 12, 2017, just days after Hurricane Irma hammered South Florida, a father and his three children were walking on the beach in Gulf Stream when his young son found a bone lying in the sand.

"[The son] thought it was some kind of animal bone. But his mom, having a medical background, said no, that's a human bone," said Sgt. Passeggiata.

According to police, it took two years before the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification was able to determine through DNA that the bone was Normil's.

Detectives had gathered DNA from the teen's toothbrush, as well as from his parents.

Normil's death certificate was finally signed a week ago.

"This bring closure to this case," said Sgt. Passeggiata. "It's not the way I wanted it to end."

🔽 Below is WPTV's story from 2013 on Normil's disappearance 🔽