GAINESVILLE, Ga. — On the same day Cody Gibbs' body was pulled from the depths of Lake Lanier on Thursday, his daughter came into the world.
Gibbs' brother said the 19-year-old was looking forward to being a father. His girlfriend gave birth to a 6 pound, 1 ounce baby girl Thursday.
"He kept saying that was going to be the best part of me," Justin Gibbs said. "She's just this beautiful little light that we have in this darkness."
But Gibbs said his brother struggled with addiction and it was that addiction that led him to an illegal party on the lake Monday night.
"He couldn't control himself as much as he wanted to," his brother said. "I think he just wanted that one last night of fun and with the addiction that he had it wasn't something that he could do."
Gibbs was one of a few partygoers who jumped into Lake Lanier at Two Mile Creek Park early Tuesday when sheriff's deputies broke up the party.
Rescuers spent two days searching the lake using sonar but came up empty. When they arrived at the lake Thursday morning to continue the search, Gibbs' body had floated up to the surface.
Gibbs' mother stood at the end of a peninsula Thursday, hours after the discovery, with other family members. It was the point where her son jumped into the lake. They are torn between emotions of grief for her son and joy for the birth of his daughter.
She was due on Friday but was born a day early.
"And that's all we have of him (his daughter) and that's what is saving our family right now," Justin Gibbs said. "If she wasn't here this would be unbearable."
Gibbs said he is ready to spoil his niece and he won't let her grow up without telling her how hard her father tried to be with her.
"He was doing everything in his power so that he could be the best dad he could for her and he just couldn't," Justin said in tears. "It doesn't mean that he didn't love her, that doesn't mean he wasn't trying, because he was, he was trying really hard."
Cody Gibbs' family has set up a GoFundMe account to help the family pay for funeral costs and for his daughter's care.