Body believed to be missing fisherman found

A body believed to be that of a fisherman who went missing in Rockport's Copano Bay was found by a volunteer boat Monday shortly before 8 p.m., family members said. A friend of Farrell's was on that boat and identified him.

Kevin Farrell launched his 18-foot boat about 12:30 p.m. Saturday and about two hours later the vessel was found with its engine idling, Coast Guard officials said.

His cellphone, fishing gear, and other items were found on the boat near Lap Reef in Copano Bay.

On Sunday his fishing rod was found along the bay and on Monday his family, friends, and volunteers kept searching.

"He loved it, he had been fishing his whole life," his wife, Melissa Farrell, said during the search early Monday. "He was the most loving father, grandfather, and husband. This was not supposed to happen this way."

Every time Farrell, 54, went out fishing in Copano Bay in Rockport, he'd take his boat to Lap Reef about three miles from the fishing pier.

Once at the reef — where he could always find trout — he'd put his boat engine on idle and search for the right depth.

He'd take his fishing rod, and put it in the water to measure until he found 3 to 4 feet of depth.

And Melissa Ferrell believes that's what happened Saturday before he went missing.

"He does the same thing every time," she said. "He was a creature of habit. I think something medical had to happen, I think he fell over."

Farrell, an electrician, and his wife moved to Rockport about four years ago from Dripping Springs, near Austin, and own Farrell Electric Service.

Coast Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of Public Safety, Rockport Police, Aransas County Sheriff's Office and Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer search and recovery team, helped search for Farrell Saturday and Sunday nights and Monday morning.

Coast Guard suspended its search about 2 p.m. Monday after searching for about 18 hours including 182 square miles, 15 missions by air and two by sea, Lt. Hans De Groot said.

More: Search for missing fisherman continues

About 100 volunteers, some who had never met Ferrell, continued to arrive at the Copano Bay fishing pier Monday.

Andrew and Norma Kaene were about to leave the pier Saturday but when they heard what happened to Ferrell they turned their boat around, they said.

The couple helped in the search Saturday, Sunday and Andrew Kaene took time off work Monday, too.

"He's a fellow fisherman like we are and the more eyes out here the faster we'll find him," Norma Kaene said. "It's sad. If it was my husband or someone I knew I'd like everybody to help as much as possible."

I'm a mom and it breaks my heart to see them and what they're going through," Norma Kaene said.

The family has created a GoFundMe account to help defray some of the costs of the search.

Farrell and his wife, Melissa, have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren living in Austin and Rockport.

Casey Farrell, 25, Farrell's youngest son gave his mother a hug before heading out on a boat once again Monday morning to look for his dad.

"I'm going to find him," Casey Farrell told his mother as he comforted her.

"He was the best man I've ever known and my number one supporter," Casey Farrell said. "They had to drag me out of here last night I refused to leave until I find him. I won't leave until we find him."

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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