U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for Sarasota family

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 06:19:09-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the two remaining members of a family lost at sea nearly a week ago on Saturday.

Ace Kimberly and his three teenage kids went missing at sea Sunday, after setting sail from Sarasota to Fort Myers. The Coast Guard found two bodies earlier in the week, and identified them Saturday as those of Ace Kimberly and his 17-year-old daughter Rebecca Kimberly.

The Coast Guard released a photo Thursday of the family's 29-foot sailboat. The photo was taken the day before the fateful trip.

His sons 13-year-old Roger and 15-year-old Donald remain missing. Captain Gregory Case, U.S.C.G. Sector St. Petersburg Commander, said it was a decision he does not lightly. "It is with a heavy heart and sincere condolences to the family and friends that I do this. This is probably he most difficult decision I ever have to make in this position," he said in a press conference, Saturday afternoon.

Chief Nyxolyno Cangemi, from the U.S. Coast Guard Fort Myers Beach station, said over 100 searches were conducted, spanning over more than 33,000 square miles and lasted more than 250 resource hours. "It's always a difficult decision that weighs heavily in our minds and in our hearts when we have to call off a search for anybody at sea, and unfortunately, we had to do that at 12:06 PM today for the Kimberly family."

The Coast Guard believes they've searched beyond the period of survival at sea. Capt. Gregory Case thanked the family for their cooperation in the search. "They're a strong family and they were very helpful," he said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will collect debris and any evidence available to conduct an accident investigation to hopefully find out what exactly happened.