A body found along the Myakka River Friday afternoon has been identified as a missing kayaker, officials said.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the girlfriend of the kayaker reporting him missing around noon Friday. Hours later, his body was found at an undisclosed location near the water.
Early Friday evening, detectives said they positively identified the body as that of a missing kayaker, but did not release their name. However, News Channel 8 spoke to Ron Hampson who said it was his friend who he has known for 13 years. Out of respect for the victim’s family, we will not disclose their name.
“I was kind of baffled,” said Hampson. “He has always been a good man.”
According to Hampson, the victim loved the water, often kayaking during the day and pitching a tent at night.
“[He] rides a bicycle a lot. He is always on the water,” Hampson recalled. “I lived right behind his trailer. I just don’t understand why this happened. I mean he is always out there. Something must have happened.”
“If it wasn’t a snake bite or a gator bite, somebody must have hit him with a boat. Something in that category.”
The victim’s girlfriend described him as kind-hearted and hardworking.
Investigators are still working to determine his cause of death.