Former islander found dead in river

Patrick Lee Mullins, 52, left a note for his wife Jan. 27 that he was taking his boat out to test the engine.

His untethered boat was found near Egmont Key the next day and a search by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office marine and aviation units, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for Mullins was launched and later discontinued with no success.

The family and many friends helped continue an independent search.

On Feb. 5, a fisher found a body in about 3 feet of water near Emerson Point in the Manatee River. Identification on the body indicated it was the missing boater and Mullins was positively identified Feb. 6.

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube issued a statement saying it was difficult to determine from the body if foul play was involved.

The sheriff said an official cause of death is pending further forensic and toxicology testing.

Mullins was a beloved media specialist at Palmetto High School and teacher. He grew up with his family on Anna Maria Island.

His family released a statement following the positive identification.

“The family of Patrick Mullins is in mourning,” the statement reads. “We request your understanding and compassion in giving us our privacy at this time. We wish to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, all the many loving and concerned individuals and organizations that have contributed their efforts and resources to resolving his disappearance.”

The MCSO is investigating the death and awaiting toxicology results.

Anyone with information is asked to call MCSO at 747-3011, ext. 2535, or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

        See obituary Feb. 13, 2013.

More from The Islander