Updated Dec. 5, 2017
CORTEZ – The Manatee County Coroner’ Office has identified a body found near Egmont Key last weekend, but it is not that of Fraser Horne, a Canadian who winters in Cortez.
The victim was identified as William Robeysek, 61, of Bradenton, who apparently jumped off the Skyway Bridge. Deputies searched for him after finding his car on the bridge Nov. 24.
Horne, 63, disappeared Nov. 17 when he didn’t return from fishing. His 30-foot boat was discovered in the Gulf with the ignition on and his wallet and keys were found in the boat. His dog, which accompanied him, was found on dry land.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for Horne on Sunday, Nov. 19.
“Suspending a search is the most difficult decision I have to make, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Horne’s family and friends. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to reunite Fraser with his family,” Sector Commander Capt. Holly Najarian said in a Coast Guard press release issued Sunday evening.
At approximately 6:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, Fraser’s wife, Michele, contacted the Coast Guard’s St. Petersburg Sector and reported that her husband and the family dog, Toula, were overdue and had not returned home aboard Frasers’ 30-foot boat, Golden Rush.
The Frasers are seasonal residents from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and they purchased their canal-side home in the Harbour Landings Estates neighborhood in Cortez in 2013.
According to a Coast Guard spokesperson, Horne left his Cortez home around noon Friday.
According to the Coast Guard press release issued Saturday morning, a 29-foot Coast Guard response boat from Cortez and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Clearwater were dispatched in response to Michele Fraser’s call.
At 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, a couple found Toula on land and alive near Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg, according to a Coast Guard spokesperson.
At 11:15 p.m., the Golden Rush was located about five miles northwest of Mead Point, at the northwest tip of Robinson Preserve in Bradenton.
A rescue swimmer lowered from the helicopter discovered the boat with the engines running and the transmission in neutral. Fraser’s wallet, keys and shoes were found aboard the boat. The incident is currently under investigation.
“Toula, our golden retriever, is at home and in good health and I would like to thank the good Samaritans who found her Friday night,” Michele Horne said in Sunday’s press release. “I would also like to thank the Coast Guard and the many other rescue agencies who searched for Fraser. This is an emotionally difficult time and we ask everyone to respect our family and friends’ privacy while we grieve for Fraser.”
Staff writer Tom Vaught contributed to this report.