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Coast Guard finds body of missing Largo boater

ST. PETERSBURG — The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday found the body of a missing boater from Largo, but what led to his death was still unknown.

A helicopter search crew found the body of Tommie E. Lipford, 56, around 11 a.m. about 4 miles from his boat near Egmont Key.

He had left Friday from a Bay Pines boat ramp on a 21-foot Kenner fishing boat.

About 2 a.m. Sunday, his family reported him overdue to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Coast Guard said.

About 14 miles west of Egmont Key, Lipford's anchored boat, with its lights on, was found vacant about 4:15 a.m. Sunday by a Clearwater-based Coast Guard helicopter crew.

Lipford apparently went out fishing, but how he died hasn't been determined. His belongings were still on the boat.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has begun investigating, towing the boat to Bay Pines, spokesman Gary Morse said.

Lipford's body was turned over to the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office to determine a cause of death.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8779.

Coast Guard finds body of missing Largo boater 02/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:12pm]
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