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Second body found during Coast Guard search for missing Florida family

Family members say body of Rebecca Kimberly, 17, found Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard said it has found a second body while searching for a missing family off Florida's Gulf coast.

Capt. Greg Case said one of the Coast Guard's aircrafts and a boat crew spotted a white flare for a few seconds just before 2:30 a.m.

"Whether it was a flare or not, we're not sure," said Case, commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. "We treat it like it was that in the search area, and of course we're searching that very hard."

Case said a helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater found a yellow kayak at 1:15 a.m. that is believed to have been towed by the family's sailboat.

A bucket was also found that contained items such as birth certificates.

"One of our response boats from Station Fort Myers recovered a bucket in the debris area that contained birth certificates, a GPS, wallet, cell phone, cigarettes, a pool noodle and a tool box," Case said. 

Authorities said Ace Kimberly, 45, and his children, Roger, 13, Donny, 15, and Rebecca, 17, left Sarasota about 7 a.m. Sunday en route to Fort Myers to repair their sailboat.

The father called his brother, who lives in Fort Myers, at about 3 p.m. the same day, to say that he and his children were in 6-foot seas near Englewood. The family has not been heard from since. 

Coast Guard officials said a body was found about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and family members told Local 10 News that they believe the body is that of Rebecca.

They said she was wearing a life jacket when she was found. Her body was located about 40 nautical miles west of Sanibel Island.

Case said an aircraft also spotted a debris field about 33 nautical miles off Sanibel Island Wednesday that they believe contained items from the family's sailboat.

The items include water jugs, a pair of tennis shoes, a basketball, a propane tank, a tarp and six life jackets.

Case said the weather remains favorable Thursday for authorities to continue their search for the Kimberly family.

Search crews are asking mariners to keep a sharp lookout and contact the Coast Guard with any information regarding the whereabouts of the missing family.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.


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