Coast Guard rescues kidnapped 3-year-old boy

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Crewmembers from the Coast Guard rescued Luke Finch aboard his father’s 32-foot sailboat at approximately 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009, approximately 140 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were contacted early Sunday morning by Cocoa City Police Department officials, in Cocoa, Fla., requesting assistance in locating Paul Martikainen, 35, and his son, Finch. They reportedly departed Salt Creek Marina, in St. Petersburg, in a 32-foot grey Bristol sailboat at about 4 p.m. Saturday.

Crewmembers aboard a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., HC-130 Hercules aircraft spotted Paul Martikainen’s sailboat at about 5 p.m. Monday, while searching a 22,995-square mile area after Finch was reportedly kidnapped by Martikainen Saturday.

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Crocodile and Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island boarded the sailboat at about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, safely rescued Finch, and took him onboard the Crocodile. Kodiak Island boarding team members detained Martikainen and are currently towing the sailboat to Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla., where he will be taken into FBI custody.

Finch is scheduled to arrive at Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla. between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We are incredibly happy that we were able to find and rescue Luke unharmed to reunite him with his family,” said Capt. Timothy Close, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander. “There were multiple agencies involved and the we were glad we were able to assist.”

The Crocodile is an 87-foot cutter homeported in St. Petersburg.

The Kodiak Island is a 110-foot cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

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