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Date of Issue: June 16, 2010

Search suspended for Cortez man

The 43-foot houseboat Cindy Lee was docked outside the Cortez Kitchen restaurant June 11. Michael Taylor, 20, reportedly fell off the boat June 10, about 11 miles offshore of Longboat Key. Islander Photo: Nick Walter

The U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspended their search for 20-year-old Cortez resident Michael Taylor June 11.

Taylor reportedly went overboard around 7:30 p.m. June 10, about 11 miles west of Longboat Key.

A memorial service for Taylor has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday on the bay side of Longboat Pass. The family is requesting attendees wear board shorts and flip-flops in Taylor’s honor.

Watch-standers at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call from the 43-foot fishing boat Cindy Lee reporting Taylor fell over the bow of the boat and had not re-surfaced.

Some of Taylor’s family and about 20 local fishermen were still looking for Taylor’s body July 11. FWC boats, a Coast Guard aircraft, Cortez Coast Guard and Longboat Fire Rescue also were searching.

Taylor, who lived on 119th Street in Cortez, was on a fishing trip with friends.

Taylor’s girlfriend, Alisha Cantrall, was one of those aboard when Taylor went over. She told Bay News 9 that Taylor tried to grab a rope when he lost his balance and fell off the side of the boat. Cantrall told the television station she dove in after Taylor.

“I tried swimming out there to all the blood and everything. There was nothing there,” she said in the interview. “He never came up.”

Taylor’s mother, Susan, told BN9 that Taylor was hit by the boat’s propellers after he fell in.

Several people in the Cortez village said Taylor was a “good kid.”

“He was just one of the neighborhood kids,” said Kim McVeigh, president of Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. “In this community, everyone knows each other so it’s like everyone’s related. It’s just a tragedy.”

The incident remains under investigation.