The boat belonging to the missing fisherman on Lake Tarpon has been located.
Deputies located the vessel submerged in approximately 13ft of water off the east coast of the lake just a short time ago. There does not appear to be any significant damage to the boat but a thorough inspection of it will be conducted in the coming days.
***ORIGINAL RELEASE BELOW***
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
-Patrol Operations Bureau
Willie Ragins (Body Found)
Address: 2515 Ragins Lane, Plant City
Willie Hightower (Body Found)
Address: 1802 E. Warren Street, Plant City
The bodies of the two missing boaters have been found on Lake Tarpon.
The bodies of the two missing boaters were located near the center of Lake Tarpon. The boaters went missing on Lake Tarpon after launching their boat from the Anderson Park boat ramp.
The boaters went fishing late in the afternoon on Saturday, December 28, 2013. Deputies began to search the area around noon on Sunday, December 29, 2013. The bodies were found on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 at approximately 3:40 p.m.
The bodies of the two missing boaters have been found on Lake Tarpon. Deputies and citizens located the bodies in the center portion of Lake Tarpon at approximately 3:40 p.m. this afternoon.
Deputies have been searching for the two missing boaters since around noon on Sunday, December 29, 2013. The two boaters went fishing in a 14-foot Jon Boat on Lake Tarpon in the late afternoon hours on Saturday, December 28, 2013. The two were last heard from around 10:00 p.m. Saturday evening.
Various forms of sonar equipment, helicopters, and boats were utilized in the search.
Deputies have identified the two bodies to be that of the two missing boaters, 43-year-old Willie Ragins and 64-year-old Willie Hightower.
Next of kin has been notified and the medical examiner will complete an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
At this time both boater’s deaths appear accidental and not suspicious in nature.
Deputies are still actively searching for the fishing boat the two men were aboard.
The investigation continues.