PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — People across the community are mourning the loss of a friend, boyfriend and father after a sudden death.
Search teams found 30-year-old Jonathan Sampson’s body Tuesday at St. Andrews State Park’s jetties. The preliminary autopsy states he drowned.
Sampson’s girlfriend Regina Kukla said he was a beautiful soul taken away too soon.
“He was the man that I asked for, I asked god for him,” Kukla said. “And I just really hope that he knows that.”
She said one week ago she and Sampson were planning their futures together.
“We were talking about if we want to get married and that was like an absolute of course I will. Why wouldn’t I,” Kukla said. “We had a vacation planned for his birthday next week.”
But tragedy dashed all of their plans. On October 29th Sampson disappeared. His family searched for him for days.
“When I talked to the investigator she said ‘where are places he might be,’” Kukla said. “I said the beach.”
Kukla says she is devastated and still in shock, but wants the world to know what a rare person they lost.
“He was beautiful,” Kukla said. “He had such a beautiful caring spirit and such a positive outlook on life. He was friends with everybody.”
She says he was a light in every room. A free-spirit who loves reading, reggae music and tacos.
Sampson had two daughters, Autumn and Sadie, who Kukla said she loves very much.
“I think that we were put into each other’s lives at the right time and I love his girls so much and I will do as much as I can for them,” Kukla said.
And while she and Sampson were only together less than a year, Kukla said it felt like a lifetime.
She says when you know you know.
“I want him to know how much everybody loves him,” Kukla said. “I’ve gotten so many messages I can’t even open all of them from people who have known him from all different parts of his life.”
Kukla said she and some friends are hosting a taco fundraiser at Finns restaurant in Panama City Beach next Wednesday, to raise money for Sampson’s daughters for Christmas gifts.
They have also created a GoFundMe to help cover the funeral expenses.