13-year-old son remembers beloved father who died in the James River

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A 13-year-old son is remembering his father, who died after disappearing in the James River over the weekend, as a “really good guy” and “really fun”.

"I just think everybody should know the story of what happened and how good my dad was,” said Parker Hendrick, 13, about his dad, Matthew Todd Jackson, 42.

Jackson went missing while on the James River in Goochland County, near Watkins landing on Saturday evening. His body was recovered Sunday morning.

Hendrick said his dad was out on the river with friends hitting golf balls from a boat when he jumped into the water.

"The balls were, like, floating away. So, he was swimming to go get them,” said Hendrick. “They were wondering where my dad was and then they called 911 and they all came.”

Hendrick, who was Jackson’s only child, said the two of them would go on trips and adventures, including trips to amusement parks and escape rooms.

“Because he knew I loved roller coasters and I wasn’t afraid. And he knows I’m smart with stuff like that [escape rooms],” added Hendrick. "We used to always go to Busch Gardens and my cousins come in twice a year from Arizona and every night we’d watch scary movies with him.”

He said his father was born and raised in the area and worked as a pipeline instructor. When it came to being a dad, he said Jackson was a really good guy who was fun to hang around.

"He always cared about me and my grades,” added Hendrick.

Hendrick said the last time he saw his father was when he dropped him off at his mother’s house at the end of a trip to Florida last week.

“He said, ‘I love you, buddy’,” said Hendrick, who added that he said that he “I love you” back.

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