Local News

Coast Guard wants info about boater

NEW SMYRNA BEACH - It's been a year since an Apopka man went boating at New Smyrna Beach, disappeared for a month and re-emerged in Avon Park.
The U.S. Coast Guard spent $1.3 million searching for Enrique Hernandez, and that's why they're still looking for answers.
The man spoke to agents, Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Randy Thompson told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on Wednesday. "However, we are still looking for more information."
Officials said Hernandez took his vehicle, boat and trailer from Apopka on Feb. 6, 2013 to New Smyrna Beach boat ramp.
After midnight, the Coast Guard Sector in Jacksonville was contacted by New Smyrna Beach police. Hernandez's family said he was overdue from the fishing trip.
The Coast Guard searched 13,000 square miles from Cape Canaveral to Savannah, Ga., by sea and air with assistance from local law enforcement agencies. They found Hernandez's vehicle and trailer at the boat ramp, but there were no signs of the boat or Hernandez.
The search was called off four days later.
A month later, law enforcement agencies learned Hernandez, 49, was still alive. He had contacted family in Avon Park and was given a ride back to Apopka.
He went back to New Smyrna Beach, where he told police detectives he'd been kidnapped, but he would not provide details.
"Although it's been more than a year since this incident began, we're still trying to determine exactly what happened," Thompson said. "We urge anyone with any information about this incident to reach out to us."
Contact the Coast Guard Investigative Service at 904-256-5931904-256-5931.