Second body found late Thursday morning by Kimberly family search party

Kimberly family
Kimberly family

The discovery of a second body and a sailboat mast Thursday morning further dampens the prospect of the multi-agency search team finding the Kimberly family alive.

Ace Kimberly and three teenage children — 17-year-old Rebecca, 15-year-old Donny and 13-year-old Roger — lived on the boat they were sailing from Sarasota to Fort Myers for repairs. They’ve been missing at sea since Sunday.

Between 12:35 p.m. Wednesday and noon Thursday, searchers found two kayaks that match the description of kayaks owned by the family; a sailboat mast 101 miles offshore of Fort Myers; and two bodies, the first 40 miles west of Sanibel and the second four miles southeast of the first body. U.S. Coast Guard captain Gregory Case wouldn’t confirm the identity of the first body at a Thursday morning media briefing, but several reports claim it’s that of Rebecca Kimberly.

Case said the search remained a search-and-rescue rather than a search-and-recover mission. As he spoke about an hour before the discovery of the second body, his voice betrayed more fatigue than optimism.

“We continue to hold out hope,” Case said. “There are so many factors in...we still hold out hope.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal