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Body found floating in bay
Smyrna man not seen since Saturday


By TERRI SANGINITI
Staff reporter/Del.Online
08/03/2004


The body of a man was recovered Monday from the Delaware Bay southwest of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse, near where rescuers had been searching all weekend for a missing Smyrna boater.

Delaware Fish & Wildlife Capt. Robert Hutchins said the body was found floating without a life jacket at 11 a.m. by a recreational boater not far from where rescuers had concentrated their search for William Gar Baker, 26, of Paddock Road.

The body was taken to Port Mahon and turned over to the state medical examiner for identification and to determine how he died, Hutchins said.

Allison Taylor Levine, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Social Services, said Monday that autopsy results were not yet available.

Hutchins said three boats from Delaware and one from New Jersey began their third day of searching for Baker at 7 a.m.

He was reported missing at 8 a.m. Saturday after a passing boater picked up his 18-year-old passenger, Justin Owsley, from the water in the vicinity of the lighthouse, southeast of Woodland Beach.

Baker's stepmother, Lori Baker, said her stepson and Owsley were good friends.

Owsley was treated at a New Jersey hospital for hypothermia and released Saturday.

Hutchins said he had been in the water several hours before being found.

Owsley and Baker set out from Collins Beach in a 12-foot aluminum jon boat equipped with an electric trolling motor early Saturday.

"We know the general time they left and some of the activities that preceded the boat ride," Hutchins said, but declined to disclose further details.

Owsley told authorities he wanted to get out of the boat and go for a swim. Baker told him he would come back in a half-hour to pick him up. He never returned.

The Coast Guard and state police from New Jersey and Delaware assisted in the search, which went from early morning to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Rescuers found Baker's empty boat Saturday in the Delaware Bay near Ship John Shoal Lighthouse, but there was no sign of Baker.

Delaware Fish & Wildlife agents impounded the boat as part of the investigation.

Hutchins said the body recovered Monday morning, the boat and the survivor "were all in the same general area."

"There's a lot of unanswered questions, but the puzzle is slowly coming together," Hutchins said.

Earlier Monday, Lori Baker said she had not given up hope her stepson would be found alive. She had asked for the public's help in trying to locate him.

She said Baker worked with his father at ProClean, a firm that restores homes and businesses after floods, fires or other problems insurance companies handle.
 

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Huh? Get out of the boat to go for a 1/2 hour swim? Makes no sense.

Mac
 

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"" "We know the general time they left and some of the activities that preceded the boat ride," Hutchins said, but declined to disclose further details.

That may be all we need to know as to why anything. Neverless a shame to see youth wasted that way..
 

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I agree with Mac. Why would you "go for a swim" in the delaware bay. Obviously they had no idea what the hell they were doing.
 

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It's a crazy world. :confused:
 
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