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 is very sad. Children trust that parents will always use good judgement to keep them safe from harms way. It is very sad that the dangers of doing this weren't more obvious to Jonathan. Two lives lost because an adult did not exercise proper caution. Very, very, very, sad.


Agreed 101%, he always was careless. I feel sorry for vi; she doesn't deserve whatever outcome as a result of this.


no confirmation on that yet. let's not rush to judgment.

2cents's picture

I find it strange that the shoes would be close by. The wind would drive the boats hulls freely and at a greater rate than the shoes, they would follow the currents due to their semi submersed profile. Not adding up yet!

Capt. Ford

Not accurate, current has much greater influence on floating objects, I've been drift fishing when the current will take one into the wind.


This is a sad story all around and things aren't adding up and when you look on Facebook at the families who know them are saying stuff on how could he do this and so on! Find it weird that they are already saying stuff like this!

Sitting In The ...

She says the lake was calm yet a nearby weather station recorded wind gusts of 18-24mph between 5-6p Saturday. She lying I guarantee it, I mean she first stated she had no idea what happened then when they found the kayaks her story changed to oh yeah I knew they were going.


I Agree With 2Cents, I Said From The Get Go That Shoes And 2 Kayaks Would Never Have Made It To The Same Location With The Waves The Lake Was Spitting Out! I Don't Believe Anyone Will Be Finding Bodies, I Feel HE May Have Taken The Girl Away From The Crapshoot Life She Endured, Otherwise Why Would The Girlfriend Wait 12 Hours To Report Them Missing? If My Loves Were Moderating Out On The Lake Id Wait 2 Minutes Longer Then I Thought It Would Have Taken PERIOD!


Do you use the SHIFT key to type in this annoying fashion, or do you go whole-hog and use CAPS LOCK to start every word? Please tell me it's CAPS LOCK. I want to think the best of you.


Moderating = missing

Kottage Kat

Unless she had be somewhere
Then make a report
Continuing to pray

God Of Thunder

I was thinking the same thing.. I hate to be pessimistic, but this just doesn't make sense.. The girlfriend waited 12 hours to report them missing??? I don't know what kind of custody thing was going on, but I have to say, things aren't adding up..


Yeah Its Sad But I Have To Say I Hope He Took Her Away! Do Not Want The Other Outcome


why assume things why not pray for this family either way this is horrible don't down this man because it seems he was a good father that just made a bad call



Pat Burkhart

Let's pray... before we judge anyone!!!

Pat Burkhart



AMEN! G'ma Smurf!


Why assume things? Why not assume things? Maybe there is a reason that 12 hours passed before they were reported missing- it would end the speculation. 12 hours in 40 degree temps vs. 1 hour could have made the difference. That's why.

nosey rosey

I don't personally know this man but I do know that he was charged with child endangering at one point (see Sandusky county sheriff website & jail inmates) and a good father doesn't let his 12 year old kayak on the lake in any weather without a life jacket. He's obviously an idiot.


Not sure who's downing him? From the things I've heard, and court documents out there regarding certain issues if he did take her away it would be something that was warranted! I do pray for the safety of all involved but 2+2=4 and this 2+2 is equaling something different, this isn't rocket science!


At first I feared the worst, but since they didn't pop up today sometime I am beginning to believe these therorys about it being a setup. there is no reason they wouldn't have been found today. Sandusky Bay really isn't that big of a place when you have that many agency's out there looking. I hope that is the case, and they are alive.


I live in fremont I am sure you may have heard about Damon Scott he came up missing and they searched the river and he still wasn't found for months. God forbid it but it is very possible for someone or something to be at the bottom of the lake,


There is a strong current near the bridge as well.


Anything Is Possible, But Circumstances That Took Place By Far Don't Lead To A Tipped OveR By Accident Kayaks! Its a SaD Affair But Come On Andrew Facts Are Facts!


I think the weather alone leads you to believe a kayak could have tipped over. The 12 hours of not reporting them missing is what doesn't make sense to me. I don't know these people, and I feel horrible for the family, I can't even imagine. Unless they didn't initially know they went out in kayaks why would you not report someone missing that went on the lake when the water temp is around 40 degrees?


Seriously, I need to know where you purchased this magical keyboard that puts the first letter (and apparently the last in some isolated cases) of each word in caps. I want one. Nay, I have to have one.

Tell Me, Where Can I Get One Of ThesE Because I Can't Go On Knowing TheY Exist While I Don'T Have One. You Can Understand My Position, I'm Sure.


OMG, how long did it even take you to type that last sentence? LOL!


Headline is stupid.

Obviously, they're still missing or the headline would have read : Found or recovered.

Julie R.

I agree. Why would the guy's girlfriend wait 12 hours to report them missing? That doesn't make a bit of sense at all. One would think she would have reported them missing as soon as it got dark and they still had not returned. Nevertheless, this isn't the time for judging anybody.


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.