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UPDATE: Authorities recover body of missing man

By Staff | Nov 25, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Richard Straka

UPDATE:

Authorities found the body of a white man approximately three miles off Sanibel at about 2:30 p.m. today, the Sanibel Police Department reported in a prepared statement at about 4:30 p.m.

The body was taken to the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard Station and positively identified an hour later as that of Richard Straka. The body has since been turned over to the Lee County Medical Examiners Office.

Straka’s family members have been notified of the findings.

The SPD added that the investigation is ongoing and no cause of death is known at this time.

PHOTO PROVIDED Beach towel

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ORIGINAL (Nov. 25, 2019):

The Sanibel Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies are continuing the search today for a man reported missing over the weekend.

At about 3 p.m. Nov. 24, the family of Richard Straka, 63, of Cleveland, Ohio, contacted the SPD to report him missing. According to police, he was last seen at about 11 a.m. walking toward the beach in front of 979 E. Gulf Drive, Sanibel. Straka was carrying a green oval flotation device at the time.

The SPD enlisted the help of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard to search for Straka. Extensive search efforts were conducted by helicopter, drone, vessel and on the beach. The helicopter and vessel searches were called off during the evening for safety reasons, due to high wind and rough seas. However, the search on the beach continued throughout the night, officials reported.

PHOTO PROVIDED "Raft” type of flotation device

At 7 a.m. today, authorities resumed the search for Straka.

The Coast Guard reported that it is searching on the southeast side of Sanibel. Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules aircrews, a USCG Station Fort Myers 45-foot Response Boat – medium boatcrew, and the USCG Cutter Pelican crew are taking part in the search.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife also are assisting today, officials reported at 9 a.m. The Coast Guard crews have covered a search area of 20 square miles and plan to continue to search throughout the day.

At about 11 a.m. today, the SPD released photos of Straka, the beach towel he had in his possession when he went missing and the “raft” type of flotation device that Straka was using.

If anyone has information or has seen any of the items, contact the SPD 239-472-3111.