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. Shark Week 2017: Michael Phelps races a shark and other must-see specials


    It's that time of year again. No, not back to school month or geek convention season -- it's Shark Week.

    For almost 30 years, Discovery Channel has brought a full week of special programs on the toothy underwater predators through Shark Week.
  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60


    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks
  3. Clearwater Beach driver's roommate thought she could help turn his life around


    CLEARWATER — Ryan Michael Stiles wanted to start fresh. Sarah Lynn Wright wanted to help.

    Ryan Michael Stiles, 27, is seen while driving his vehicle on Clearwater Beach Thursday, July 20, 2017. Stiles was stopped on the north end of Caladesi Island after driving up from Clearwater Beach, police said. [Facebook]
  4. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month


    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]