Dad and teen daughter found dead after Fla. family vanishes on sailboat

SARASOTA, Fla. (WNCN) — The Coast Guard says the search for a family that disappeared off of the Florida coast has been suspended after a man and his teen daughter were found dead.

Dad Ace Kimberly and his daughter Rebecca. Photo from WFLA
Dad Ace Kimberly and his daughter Rebecca. Photo from WFLA

Ace Kimberly and his three teen children disappeared Sunday after departing Sarasota for Fort Myers in a 29-foot sailboat. They were last seen on a sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Capt. Gregory Case said at a news conference that the search for the family has been suspended.

He identified two bodies found as Ace Kimberly and his daughter Rebecca. His two teenage sons remain missing.

The missing family has been identified as 45-year-old Ace Kimberly and his children, 13-year-old Roger, 15-year-old Donny and 17-year-old Rebecca.

Officials say the family had been living on the sailboat for a year. Case says the last word from the family came later Sunday when Kimberly told his brother they were sailing in “6-foot seas and thunderstorms.”

The family's boat in a photo released by the US Coast Guard.
The family’s boat in a photo released by the US Coast Guard.

The debris found included items such as water jugs, tarps, six life jackets, a throwable life ring, a propane tank, a pair of shoes and a basketball.

At 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, crews located a green sit-in kayak in the vicinity of the original debris field matching the description of a kayak known to be with the family. About four hours later, a helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater located and recovered a body about 40 miles west of Sanibel. The body was transferred to local authorities for identification.

A friend of a family of four who is missing at sea says he does not think the family had a marine radio with them that could have summoned help if there was an emergency.

The friend disclosed the information on the same day that the Coast Guard said a second body was found in the search for the missing Kimberly family. The body was found Thursday, four miles southeast from the location of where the first body was discovered.

Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three kids, 13-year-old Roger, 15-year-old Donny and 17-year-old Rebecca are missing. Family photo via WFLA-TV
Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three kids, 13-year-old Roger, 15-year-old Donny and 17-year-old Rebecca are missing. Family photo via WFLA-TV

Officials say that the two bodies are Ace Kimberly and his teen daughter Rebecca.

Glenn Calvert, a close friend of Ace Kimberly, said the missing boat was called “Golden Goddess.” Calvert described Ace as the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. Calvert said he is even losing hope. He said tearfully “It’s not gonna be the same without him.”

— WFLA and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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