Vol 7 No. 2 - October 4, 2006

Outing turns deadly for teen

A Coast Guard helicopter searches the Gulf off Anna Maria for the missing teen.
PHOTO/JIM PETERFESO
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – A 17-year-old Tampa youth is dead following a tragic incident during an outing in the Gulf off of Anna Maria Monday.

According to Manatee County Sheriff’s Sergeant John Kenney, the Caesar Yaques was found in six- to eight-feet of water about an hour after he was reported missing around 1:54 p.m.

"I got the call and went to the scene, just north of the Sandbar restaurant, with two other deputies," Kenney said. "He was last seen on the water in a small (10-foot) boat."

Kenney said it appeared that Yaques, who was with two other males and four teenaged females, jumped from the boat.

"They all went out on the boat, then they returned, dropped off the females and the males went back out," Kenney said. "That’s when the victim disappeared."

The other boys saw that Yaques was missing and went to the police substation at Anna Maria City Hall. Kenney said he called for a Coast Guard helicopter and a county marine unit, and the helicopter spotted the victim floating in the water between 500 and 700 yards from the shore.

"The helicopter dropped a buoy into the water," he said. "The marine unit then went to the location and retrieved the victim. He was taken to the Coast Guard station in Cortez."

Kenney said it appeared the teenagers took the boat from the beach behind a residence near the Pine Avenue access. The sheriff’s office said an autopsy would be performed on Yaques.

Patsy Marlow, a tourist from Ireland, was on the beach when the teenagers found out their companion was dead.

"The kids were just screaming," she said describing their reaction. "They just kept yelling, ‘My friend is dead.’"

The victim’s mother was called after the body was found and she came to the Island to identify the body. Police taped off the area of the beach, near the Pine Avenue access, where the teens had left their equipment including a ball cap, a football and the shoes the victim had worn to the beach.

The last drowning off Anna Maria was was on June 2 of this year when Antonio Natalie, 83, of Anna Maria, was found floating in the water near the city pier. It was determined that Natalie, who lived alone on Oak Street, had suffered a heart attack while swimming.

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