Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale talks to lifeguards April 22 awaiting the arrival of the District 12 medical examiner to provide an official cause of death for a 5-year-old boy who drowned April 20 after swimming in the dangerous waters of Longboat Pass. Islander Reporter: Mark Young
The weekend search for a young boy that went missing April 20 after wandering away from a family gathering and taking a jump into the dangerous waters of Longboat Pass at Coquina Beach has ended.
Lomontea Taylor, 5, was found dead April 22.
Taylor is believed to have been caught in a rip current after jumping from a wood jetty into the water, according to Sgt. James Gill of the Bradenton Beach Police Department, the lead agency on the case.
Taylor went missing at 6:30 p.m.
Two U.S. Coast Guard vessels from Station Cortez and a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater took part in the April 20 search until shortly after 9 p.m. Also involved in the search, were the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, West Manatee Fire Rescue, Longboat Key Police, Manatee County EMS and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The search in the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway resumed April 21 in an area from Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach to Whitney Beach on north Longboat Key.
At daybreak April 21, according to Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer Michael De Nyse, the Coast Guard was “working closely with the sheriff’s office, which was performing shore patrols.”
De Nyse said in a statement, “We are doing everything in our power to reunite this child with his family.”
The search lasted until after dark April 21 with one witness estimating as many as 80 boats and personal watercraft and many people walking the coastline were on the lookout for Taylor.
The search-and-rescue operation turned into a recovery effort by late Sunday, as authorities presumed the 5-year-old was dead.
As of The Islander press time April 22, Bradenton Beach Police reported the boy’s body had been found, but no further information was available.
Swimming in the waters of Longboat Pass is discouraged due to strong rip currents and warning signs are posted in the area.