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Man, 64, found dead in Boca Ciega Bay near capsized boat

He was identified at Matthew Eelman, who had last been seen around 1 a.m. Thursday.
Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [ TMCCARTY | times staff ]
Published Nov. 8, 2019

A 64-year-old man was found dead Thursday in Boca Ciega Bay and his boat was found capsized nearby, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Matthew R. Eelman was last seen leaving a friend’s vessel at about 1 a.m. Thursday, deputies said. He had been drinking and “was described as showing signs of impairment” when he boarded his small boat to return to his live-aboard sailboat nearby, they said.

Shortly after noon Thursday, according to a sheriff’s report, Gulfport Police were notified of a capsized boat in Boca Ciega Bay. A body was found a short time later near Intracoastal Waterway Marker No. 29.

The body was later identified as Eelman and the capsized boat was determined to be the one he was last seen entering.

Deputies said the death appears to be accidental, but they were still investigating. They said Eelman had a Gainesville address.