Father, daughter who went missing weeks ago believed found

Kayaking trip on Sandusky Bay went awry with father

4/26/2013
BLADE STAFF

SANDUSKY— Just hours after recovering the body of a girl in Lake Erie today, authorities found a second body in Sandusky Bay believed to be her father.

Viola Francis, 12, and her father, Jonathan Francis, 30, of Sandusky have been missing since April 6, when they were last seen going into the water with kayaks at Crystal Rock, near Sandusky Bay’s southern shore.

A boater reported spotting the girl’s body at about 11:15 a.m. today. The U.S. Coast Guard Station in Marblehead retrieved the body, which Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said has been tentatively identified by jewelry and clothing as Viola Francis, 12.

The body was recovered by the Coast Guard about 11:45 a.m. about six miles offshore between Huron and Vermilion. It was transported by the Coast Guard to Shelby Street docks in Sandusky.

The discovery led to a renewed search for Mr. Francis. A fisherman in a boat discovered the second body about 2:15 p.m. miles away from the first body. Authorities believe the second body found against a breakwall on the western portion of the Cedar Point causeway belongs to Mr. Francis. They made a tentative identification based on a tattoo and jewelry.

The Lucas County Coroner’s Office will perform autopsies on both bodies.