Body of missing Tampa teen found in water near Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Published June 22 2016
Updated June 22 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — A fisherman on Wednesday afternoon found the body of a 16-year-old boy who had been missing since Tuesday morning in the waters near the Skyway Pier, according to police.

Brandon Sun, of Tampa, had been reported missing the day before.

His friends told police they had been drinking and using LSD on a strip of land under the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge late Monday. Sun, they said, wandered off about 3 a.m. Tuesday. They went to sleep there and woke up the next day, but Sun still had not returned, according to police. Friends searched for him, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez, but they did not find any sign of Sun, a tenth grade student at Freedom High School.

His backpack and cellphone remained near where they had slept.

Fernandez said Sun was one of about five people there Monday night, and his friends did not tell his family he was missing until Tuesday afternoon. Sun's mother reported him missing about 6 p.m. that day.

Search crews from several agencies spent Wednesday morning searching land and water near the Skyway.

All day, Sun's friends had tweeted and retweeted posts with his picture, urging people to look for him, to spread word of his disappearance. Wednesday afternoon, when police announced they had recovered Sun's body, messages of hope turned to grief.

Friends wrote that he didn't deserve it, that they couldn't breathe or stop crying.

"I can't believe I lost a brother today."

"I'll never forget you bro."

"I hope you're living the life up there, adventuring and loving life like you always did."

"You just always gave off genuine happiness like no one else I've ever met in my life. Truly an original and blessed soul."