ANKENY, Iowa --A young Iowa bride suddenly became a widow on her honeymoon this week when her husband drowned as the couple honeymooned in Florida.
22 year-old Dalton Cottrell and his wife Cheyenne had only been married for three days when he disappeared beneath the water at a Florida beach on Tuesday, the victim of a rip current. The couple went to school together in Ankeny, and Cottrell’s sudden death has hit those who knew them hard.
“It was devastating. Just so sad to hear a couple that we love, in a moment of such tenderness, just having that loss,” said the couple’s pastor, Daniel Vance.
Vance preaches at the Fellowship Baptist Church in Des Moines. The Cottrells were a deeply religious couple, attending Fellowship Baptist together and even forging their relationship within its walls.
“We had a need in our children's department, and he loved children and Cheyenne loved children. A lot of their courtship was in serving together at this church,” said Vance.
On Wednesday the church held a memorial service. Vance says in times like these the congregation needs to lean on each other, and their faith.
“You know there's some people that have asked me that recently, why would this happen, he had so much in front of him, why would God do this? As Christians, we trust that God knows all things, he's always good, and he holds our days in his hands. So, we just trust that just as God was the one that gave Dalton life, he knew when his time was over,” said Vance.
The Cottrells attended Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, and Dalton was studying to become a pastor. His teachers remember him fondly.
“He was a very good student. He was inquisitive, so he was the kind of guy in my classes where he was asking good questions and he really wants to understand the Bible,” said Andy Stearns.
Stearns taught Dalton and served as his class advisor. While Cheyenne is still in Florida. Stearns says when she returns to school they will be there for her.
“The campus is, in a different way from other schools, it's like a big family. Dalton, we're going to miss him, but we're going to be around Cheyenne and her family. People are already reaching out with cards and letters. When she comes back it'll be a big family atmosphere where we're going to show her love and care for her and help her,” said Stearns.
As of Wednesday, funeral plans have not been announced, but there is a gofundme page to help raise money to cover funeral costs.