Air, marine and dive search ends; body found in Bay believed to be missing swimmer

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 02:22:26-04

11:15 a.m. Sunday | UPDATE

The Tampa Police Department's Marine Patrol has recovered a body in Tampa Bay offshore of Cypress Point Park Beach, authorities said. 

The body is believed to be 36-year-old Robert A. Lucas of Tampa, who was last seen Saturday afternoon swimming in the bay at Cypress Point Park, Tampa Police Department spokesman Steve Hegarty said in a statement.

The body was found about 9:40 a.m. Sunday by a marine patrol in about 10 feet of water about 50 feet from where Lucas was last seen.

Lucas' family members were notified about the discovery and recovery of the body.

The body has been turned over to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office to determine the identity and cause of death, the Tampa Police Department said.

However, the body appeared to be Lucas and that he drowned, the police department statement added.

Divers and marine patrol units from the Tampa Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard


Tampa Police suspended the search for a missing swimmer at Cypress Point Park.  Robert Lucas, a 36-year-old Tampa man went to the beach with his family Saturday. Lucas was in the water when suddenly he disappeared.

Lucas' family says they called for help as soon as they noticed he was missing around 2:50 p.m.

Search teams with Tampa Fire Rescue, Tampa Police, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission responded to help with the search.

But after five hours and zero sign of Lucas, teams were forced to cut their search short as night was falling. 

Police say, the best case scenario is that the man walked away, but it's not likely. As, he left behind his phone, wallet and clothes with his family. 

"When you walk just a few feet from where he was standing, there is a shelf where it drops down to about nine feet," Lt. Ruth Cate, with Tampa Police explained.

Friends say Lucas visited Cypress Point often and knew the water there well.

"Our spot was over here or over there," Brooke Forehand, a friend of Lucas' pointed to the area where he went missing from. "We used to come here at least twice a week," she added.

Search crews plan on continuing the effort to find Lucas Sunday morning after obtaining better equipment according to police. Admitting, crews had a hard time seeing anything even with sonar in the bay. 

But despite the time that has gone by since Lucas first went under, friends say they are not giving up hope. 

"We love the water," Forehand said.

Crews will start their search again at 8 a.m.

Tampa Police are monitoring the bay overnight, to ensure no one goes out searching by themselves for Lucas.