Crews end search for missing man after empty kayak discovered

Authorities say search for missing 33-year-old man has been suspended


Officials say they have ended their search for a missing 32-year-old man after, deputies said, his capsized kayak was found Saturday afternoon.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit and Cy-Fair Fire and Rescue say they have suspended all operations, pending any additional information on the missing Kayaker.

Harris County sheriff's deputies said they received a call around 2:45 pm Saturday afternoon after neighbors found a capsized kayak floating in a retention pond near the 9100 block of Wheat Cross in the Copper Lakes subdivision.

Authorities said when fire rescue arrived on the scene, they did not find anyone near the kayak.

"We did a 360 search of the retention pond area and also with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety's helicopter, we did an aerial search," said Deputy Gilliland Thomas.

Deputies are looking for 32-year-old Ryan Smith, who was seen fishing on the lake Saturday morning.

Investigators said Smith is 5 feet 11inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing shorts and white T-shirt.

Officials said Smith is known to kayak the retention pond and fishes the pond frequently.

"A passerby saw someone out on the lake this morning, on the boat fishing," said Brian Shirley of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department. "They came back from a trip from the mall and all they saw was a capsized boat."

Officials don't have much information to work with, but said they did find some of his belongings. They found an empty white pickup truck and his cellphone.

"The sheriff's office is researching the license plate and VIN number," said Shirley. "They (officials) are running the shoreline and also checking the lake to see if we can find any debris or anything floating."

Family members held each other and cried as they looked out onto the lake in confusion. They said he fishes in this spot often, but when they couldn't get a hold of him, they knew something was wrong.

Neighbors said they were on edge as they watched officials search the lake behind their homes for the missing man.

"We saw the lights going by behind the fence and then we heard the helicopter, so I came out," said Robert Baten.

The Department of Public Safety also joined in the search. A helicopter's FLIR was used, which is a thermal energy camera to scan the water for any temperature deviations in the lake.

"I just hope the guy is alright," said Baten.

Marine unit divers searched the 155 acres of murky water until lighting conditions were too dark. Officials ended their search Sunday, pending any additional information on the missing Kayaker.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Harris County Sheriff's Office at 713-755-7427.

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