Tragic end to dream trip
JUSTIN Cullen was having the time of his life in the Maldives, before his trip ended in a tragedy that has devastated all who knew him.
With 10 of his mates from the Tweed Coast, 24-year-old Justin was fishing and surfing during the dream holiday.
On the eighth night of the planned two-week boating holiday, Justin playfully jumped into the dark sea - something he'd done several times during the trip.
He didn't surface, and his mates searched desperately for 40 minutes before finding his body.
A wound on the side of his head showed that he most likely struck the boat before disappearing into the water.
Elder brother Corey said his family were angry and looking for answers when Justin's mates arrived back in Australia.
"When they got off the plane, they came straight to our house," Corey said.
"They brought flowers and were bawling their eyes out. Justin was so loved and touched the lives of so many people.
"You wanted answers. (His mate) told us all the details. It gave us closure.
"His mates said he was having the best time.
"It's so sad, what's happened to us. It's a tragic accident - there's no answers for it."
Corey said Justin's funeral on July 31 - a week after his death - was attended by close to a thousand people.
Most wore floral, coloured shirts in celebration of a happy life.
"His life was so perfect," Corey said of the brother he was grieving for.
"We were so in awe of how on track he was.
"He was a team leader for the Cullen Group (family construction business).
"He never really went off the rails. He stuck to his training and work."
The Cullen family settled in Cabarita when Justin was 11 and he went to Cudgen Primary School and Kingscliff High.
The young sportsman played rugby league and touch football.
In his honour, Charity Cup touch football organisers at Casuarina will award a medal.
Justin's family also intend to set up a Cullen Group scholarship at QUT's urban development faculty in memory of Justin. He was in his last year of study there.
Corey will remember a brother who always had a smile on his face.
"We were always close. We couldn't have had a better childhood," he said.