Soldier from Houston area missing at sea off coast of Belize

29-year-old Wrangler Leesman of Rosenberg went missing while kayaking with friend

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter, Danielle Wilson

HOUSTON - Friends and family of 29-year-old Wrangler Leesman, of Rosenberg, are desperately watching from afar in the search for the former Army Ranger. The decorated veteran has been missing since Tuesday.

Leesman -- who in five years as a Ranger deployed five times to Iraq and Afghanistan -- went kayaking with an Army buddy on vacation in Belize. The boat capsized after a wave hit. They were holding on to the kayak when another wave struck and separated them.

The Belize Coast Guard eventually located Leesman's friend, but the Foster High School graduate remains missing.

"I think there's still a chance that if they haven't found him yet that he's still out there," said friend Jimmy Bruinsma.

Bruinsma has known Leesman since high school and they served together as Army Rangers. Bruinsma said his close friend has the skills to survive in rough waters, but believes the U.S. government should be doing more to search for him, in light of the fact that American assets are being used to search for the missing Malaysian jetliner in the Indian Ocean.

"We've got our Navy dedicated to looking for a plane we don't even know where it went," said Bruinsma. "We could at least cough up a few birds and a few ships to look for a guy that's actually served his country."

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