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The Hurricane Investigation: Mitch & Daymon's final hours

DAYMON UTTERBACK & MITCH PACYNA
Posted at 4:58 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 10:40:16-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Mitch Pacyna, documented his experience on Facebook in the hours leading up to his death.

Pacyna posted several videos starting at 8:12 a.m. Wednesday morning as Ian was approaching Fort Myers Beach.

“Probably made a very bad decision to stay"

Pacyna can be heard saying in that first video.

The second video was posted at 10:31 a.m., showing the storm surge seeping onto his street.

“Okay, surge is coming in,” Pacyna said.

When he posted the last video at 12:23 p.m., storm surge water was already several feet high as Pacyna was recording from inside his home.

“This ain’t letting up yet, I think that’s a little higher. We may have to go on the roof,” he can be heard saying with an anxious voice.

Pacyna’s last status update post came at 1:26 p.m., reading,

“OK, WE’RE TERRIFIED!!’

When Yost stopped hearing from his friends on social media, he says his concern grew greatly.

After the storm, Yost went to check on Mitch at his house.

“The only thing standing there was the piling for his house with a Cubs pendant because he was a huge Cubs fan. That was the only thing. Everything else was gone,” Yost said.

It was then Yost went down to find Daymon Utterback at his home.

“I got over there and he was hanging out of his window. He didn't make it."

State Medical Examiner records show of the 72 people who died in Lee County half-drowned.

Hurricane Ian’s total of 149 deaths makes it Florida's deadliest hurricane since 1935.

149 DEAD.png

Yost told Fox 4 he believes more people would be alive if Lee County leader’s Hurricane Ian messaging was more urgent.

“Yeah. I don't think Mitch and Mary would have stayed if they had thought it was gonna get up there,” Yost said as he expressed how he feels county leaders share a portion of the responsibility.

“It was almost like they kind of just left it up to us. ‘Do what you want. There's a storm coming.’ Not, ‘Hey, this is serious. You know what. We are not only strongly recommending it. But we're insisting on leaving,’” Yost said of how he wished county leaders had more urgently messaged during their news conferences.

“It falls on a lot of shoulders at this point. And there were a lot of mistakes made with this hurricane,” Yost said. “There shouldn’t have been so many lives lost.”

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