Jet skier found dead; 3-year-old left on island

Posted at 9:43 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 07:13:16-04

UPDATE (1:45 p.m.) -- Authorities say they've found the body of a man who went missing during a Halloween afternoon Jet Ski trip with his 3-year-old son.

Multiple news outlets report Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials say the body of 38-year-old William "Billy" Morris was found after noon on Tuesday, in a sandy area along the south bank of the Alafia River.

The search for him began Monday afternoon when he and his son, August, didn't return home. The child's mother called her husband's cellphone and the little boy answered. He was on a small island in the river. A passerby stayed with him until deputies arrived.

Authorities say the cause of death was not immediately apparent and an autopsy was scheduled.


Deputies are searching for a Riverview man who disappeared after going jet skiing with his son.

Authorities received a call just before 6 p.m. They say 38-year-old William Morris took his son jet skiing in the Alafia River, but they never returned home.

Morris' wife Facetimed him and their 3-year-old son picked up.

According to deputies, someone spotted the toddler by himself on Island 75 and that person stayed with the child until help arrived. Island 75 is located west of I-75 and more than 1,000 feet from AJ's on the River Bar.

Deputies say they found Morris' jet ski on the southern part of the island along with his life jacket and wallet.

Morris' wife declined to speak with ABC Action News; their son appeared to be okay.