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Family of Scripps Ranch man awaits answers in Maui vacation death

Arnell David, 45, fell unconscious after snorkeling.
Family of Scripps Ranch man awaits answers in Maui vacation death
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 20:54:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Loved ones are grieving the death of a Scripps Ranch man after a wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii turned tragic.

Photos taken a week and a half ago, show a smiling Arnell David, 45, and his wife Sherill, enjoying the waters off Maui, celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary. Also on the trip: their 9-year-old son Isaiah and other family members.

Days later, the bliss would turn into something else.

"It's a shock. It’s so heartbreaking,” said Noriza David, David’s cousin.

Late Friday morning, David and his brother-in-law went snorkeling off a beach at their resort in the western part of the island.

“Arnell loved the water and had done a lot of snorkeling … Where they were, you can still basically stand up. It was pretty shallow,” said Noriza.

Noriza says not long after they started, David's brother-in-law noticed David appeared sluggish.

"Kind of bobbing there, just not stable,” said Noriza.

The brother-in-law asked David if he wanted to go back. David answered that he did, and his brother-in-law put him on his back. Halfway to the shore, David fell unconscious. Once on shore, a family member quickly started CPR, before he was rushed to a hospital.

The next day, tests showed swelling in his brain. David would pass away on Sunday.

“It's heavy and you feel empty at the same time,” said Noriza.

Noriza calls David—a software engineer for a bank holding company—laid back and funny.

“He had this really big smile. His humor and sarcasm were memorable. He loved to bring family together,” said Noriza.

Noriza says David was also a devoted dad.

The cause of David’s death remains a mystery. While he was hospitalized, doctors ran all the routine tests.

“They were able to rule out heart attack or stroke. They were able to rule out drowning. It was not clear what caused this,” said Noriza.

Noriza says David was not having any underlying health issues. An autopsy will be conducted Thursday.

“Not knowing is the hardest part of grieving. You can't start to grieve until you know why this happened,” said Noriza.

A Gofundme campaign has been started to help the family bring David home.