A two-day search for a missing kayaker ends in tragedy. A family grieving the death of a 44-year-old Lithia man.
Early Saturday morning Jeffrey Mark Fancher dragged his bright green kayak into the mangroves leading to Bull Frog Creek. He never returned.
“My heart is burdened; my heart is saddened," family friend Barbara Eubanks said.
She has known Fancher family for 40 years and saw Mark Fancher grow up in Alabama. She used to live down the street from his parents and describes them as "All-American."
It's an awful end to a search by air and water for the kayaker. Authorities finding his body along the shoreline.Now investigating his death as a result of a boating accident.
“Compassionate. Sweet, sweet people the entire family" described Eubanks.
Friends from across state lines praying this wouldn’t be the outcome once they heard word his kayak was found drifting along the creek.
“They are a family of strong faith and I know God will see them through this," she said.
This type of loss familiar.
"My mother and daddy said when my oldest sister was killed ‘parents are not supposed to outlive their children’” she said.
But there’s one thing she’s certain.
“This family will keep putting one foot in front of the other and they will get through this," she said, "It will not be easy.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said there was no indication of anything suspicious involving Fancher's death.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the incident.