UPDATE: Missing kayakers identified

Area law enforcement searching Sandusky Bay area for a father and daughter.
Sandusky Register Staff
Apr 7, 2013

UPDATE (5:40 p.m.): The Coast Guard ended its search for the missing kayakers.

UPDATE (1:20 p.m.): Search crews have called off the search for the missing kayakers, although a Coast Guard helicopter is still flying over the area. Quite a few family members and friends have remained searching along the shoreline, while about 20 people have gathered at the family's home in Margaretta Township. 

UPDATE (12:40 p.m.): Jonathan Francis, 30, and his daughter Viola, 12, are still missing. The two were last seen in their boats around 5 p.m. Saturday.

UPDATE (10:29 a.m.): Both kayaks have been located near Lightner road in Ottawa County, but are empty.

The adult male and 12-year-old female were last seen Saturday evening putting their blue and lime green kayaks in the water in from Crystal Rock to paddle to the Edison Bridge and back. The two have not been seen since. They were not wearing personal flotation devices.

The Coast Guard is currently searching for the father/daughter.

If seen, the public is urged to call 911 or call the Erie County Sheriff 419.625.7951.

The sheriff's office and Margaretta Township fire department are currently checking the shoreline.



Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


blah blah blah, u keep throwing that karma crap around it just may bite you,, and keep your god to yourself. not all of us are believers.

This was a case of pure stupidity! only thing is the pooor little kid has to suffer..

It may behove YOU to actually listen to someone who has experience and common sense on the water. As he said I hope they are in canada at least the girl would be safe.


SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.. ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE VICIOUS THINGS TO SAY ARE STUPID! why in the world would you say something so harsh? who cares what the mother father or step father done, A LITTLE GIRL IS MISSING. yes it was cold out. they made a mistake. but think if this was you or a family member of yours.. your stupid remarks need to be kept to yourself.. not once did the register claim anything negative about her parents. so don't jump to conclusions! be considerate and consider the life of this little girl.. take your dumb remarks and use the energy and determination you use to come up with them and turn them into positive things and pray for her and her daddy! for heavens sake don't be so rude. her family and friends are grieving. yes it is a public post.. but shut up if you cant say anything positive. no one wants to read how you are criticizing their decision to go out on bay. or that you think they are in FN Canada bc their running from us so they can do drugs bla bla bla bla.. the mom is this the dads family does that... WHO CARES PRAY FOR THEM.

it will get back to you some way or another..



My heart goes out to the family, especially the Cottrill Family. Viola was my little pal when she was growing up and its hard to think that this can happen to a sweet little girl..


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Good to hear they are searching, but there is no way they would have survived the water temperatures for that long. Time was critical if they were in the water.


I have to wonder how they fell out of a kayak and how everything landed in one spot, This goes against the law of nature. I believe he ran for some reason. Things really do not make sense.


Are they searching today? Is there any update SR?


It saddens me to see such harsh coments on the sandusky register about my cousin.Most of you are just reading/or hearing the story through someones elses perspective.Right now this is my family's horror story. Yes bad desions were made,I dont have the answers to these tough questions that all of us want to know.But I can tell you without a doubt little Viola was LOVED and our concern right now is not how she ened up missing ,but FINDING HER is what matters. All the negitive comments about Violas mom( my cousin) while she is going through hell is not helping.Please use that negative energy(weather you like mom or not) and go help us find viola !


You can definetly tell Viola was loved look at all the people that refuse to give up. Even her daddy yeah he might not have been an expert on the water, but atleast he was trying to spend quality time with his daughter. Freak accidents happen, we are all not promised tomorrow. Where ever they are,hopefully safe but if not hopefully all involved get closure. God bless you all.


How come there has been no statements from Erie county since they said it was a missing person investigation? They have made no statements since the kayaks and shoes were found. Maybe people are looking in the wrong place while days have went past. Just in the twelve hours the girlfriend waited it gave him time to get across two or three states. With no bodies someone should put out an amber alert. The girlfriends actions seem odd for anyone who has family missing on the lake. And I do not know the mother or father. There is something odd about this whole situation.