Kayakers still missing

A man and his 12-year-old daughter remain missing after leaving for a short kayak trip Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard search suspended and the shorelines of the Sandusky Bay scoured for any sign of them.
Jessica Cuffman
Apr 8, 2013

On Sunday, the blue and green kayaks belonging to Jonathan Francis, 30, and Viola Francis, 12, washed up on the opposite side of the bay from where they launched their boats at Crystal Rock Saturday evening.

An Ottawa County man spotted the boats off the shore of his private property near Lightner Road, about the same time the U.S. Coast Guard spotted them from the air after launching their search Sunday morning.

The 12-hour hunt for the pair turned up little other evidence of Francis and his daughter's whereabouts.

Not far from the kayaks, two shoes were discovered — a pair of camouflage Crocs Francis may have been wearing, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said Monday.

Authorities fear the worst.

Witnesses said Francis and his daughter left for their trip without life jackets Saturday, and without wetsuits or other outdoor wear that may have protected them if one of their boats capsized during the trip.

Coast Guard and Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials say for kayakers and other boaters safety, there are three key factors: Personal floatation devices, protection against cold water, and having a float plan — letting someone know where you're going, when you're leaving and when you'll be back.

For more tips on paddling safety and the latest details on the search, pick up Tuesday's copy of the Register.



This whole scenario sounded strange the very first article. I even mentioned it to my husband. It did not add up. I feel bad for all involved, I am hoping he has her safe somewhere. We may not know for years if he took her. I also pray she knew what was going on all along. I don't want to think he just took her without her going along willingly.