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'Bring him home': Families of missing Venice fishermen asking for public's help

The fishermen have been missing since Saturday
Posted at 8:21 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 21:25:19-05

UPDATE (9:30 p.m.): The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the four missing fishermen. Until they get new information, they will no longer look for the anglers.

The search continued Monday for the four men who never returned from a fishing trip early Saturday morning.

The Venice Police Department said the men launched their boat off of the boat ramp at Marina Park. The men have been identified as Ruben Mora Sr., Angel Hernandez Munos, Julio Cesar Cordero Briones and Vargas Perra.

Members of Mora's family say they cannot fathom the situation.

"I can't imagine what he's going through, or what his friends are going through," said Raul Mora, Ruben's son.

Several agencies, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard, are working together to find the missing crew.

"We don't know what kind of safety equipment was on the vessel," said Capt. Andy Leisenring with the Venice Police Department. "We just know they went out on the vessel."

The search has expanded outside of the county.

"They've been searching the areas up to about 10 miles out," Leisenring said. "Our search area has been from Long Boat Pass, south to Captiva going into Collier County, so it's quite a wide area to search."

Leisenring also said the crew members didn't tell family members where they were going.

"That does hinder our search efforts just a bit," he said.

Family members of the missing crew are also urging the public to help if they can.

"My only favor that I ask is that if you have the ability and resources to go out there, it might be a bigger idea on what we're looking at," Mora Jr. said. "That's all we ask for is to just bring him home as fast as possible."

They do say time is of the essence.

"Our father has diabetes and blood pressure that's not normal," Mora said. "He takes several different medications, so we know that him specifically will need medical attention."

The Venice Police Department is also asking boaters to call them if they see anyone who needs help.