Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Third day of searching for missing Lake Tarpon boaters yields nothing

TARPON SPRINGS — Rescuers searched all day Tuesday for two boaters who went missing Saturday night on Lake Tarpon, but found nothing and ended their search at dark.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will resume the search this morning.

Willie Ragins, 43, and Willie Hightower, 64, went fishing on Lake Tarpon on Saturday. When they didn't return home that night, their families contacted the Sheriff's Office. Since search efforts began Sunday, their families have remained near the lake for any news of the two men.

Hope that rescuers would find them alive dwindled for family members Tuesday.

Saretha Ragins, Ragins' mother, said finding her son's body would bring closure.

"I just want to bring him home," she said through tears.

The Sheriff's Office launched two sonar boats and an airboat Tuesday morning. Divers also searched the 2,500-acre lake.

Since the search for Ragins and Hightower began over the weekend, other agencies have offered assistance, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Recreational boaters from around Tampa Bay have also been aiding in the search.

Anyone on the water who finds anything suspicious is asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office or 911.

Third day of searching for missing Lake Tarpon boaters yields nothing 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 8:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  2. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  3. On average, a quarter of Transformation Zone staff not returning next school year


    Combined, nearly one in four teachers staffed at eight schools in the Pinellas County school district's Transformation Zone will not return to their school in the fall.

  4. New Port Richey police investigating shooting that left one man wounded

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A man was shot and wounded Saturday after police said he assaulted a restaurant employee.

  5. What to watch this week: 'Still Star-Crossed' on ABC, 'House of Cards' Season 5



    Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey in House of Cards Season 5.