Coast Guard Ends Search for Missing 19 Year Old

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Coast Guard ended its search Wednesday for 19-year-old Christian Dutcher, of Lakeland, Fla., who was reported missing at about noon yesterday in the vicinity of Gasparilla Pass, in Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday the Coast Guard received a call from a Good Samaritan reporting a person in the water near Gasparilla Pass. Coast Guard Station Cortez, Fla., along with Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office recovered an unresponsive and lifeless man. The body was transported to the Placid Key boat ramp in Charlotte Harbor and transferred to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Coroner. Dutcher’s body was identified by the coroner and Dutcher’s family.

The search for Dutcher began Tuesday when Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach received a call from Jim Disoleo reporting that while fishing with a friend, they witnessed yelling and flailing from a young man in the water. Disoleo threw a flotation device to the floundering man, but the man was unable to reach the flotation device and began to sink beneath the surface. Disoleo’s friend then jumped into the water but was unable to rescue the man. Disoleo immediately called 911.

Twenty five-foot and 33-foot rescue boats, both from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, along with a 25-foot rescue boat from Station Cortez, Fla., and two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., were launched to search for Dutcher. Those units, along with Lee County Sheriff’s Office marine units and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office marine and air units, searched through the night with no sign of Dutcher.

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