Missing family lived aboard boat, off the grid

- Crews continue to search for any sign of a Florida family missing at sea, despite the grim news that two bodies have so far been found during the search. 

The Kimberlys, we're learning, were a family living off the grid.  The teenagers, 17-year-old Rebecca, 15-year-old Donny, and 13-year-old Roger weren't enrolled in public school. Their father, 45-year-old Ace Kimberly, lived with his children on a 29-foot sailboat anchored just outside a marina in Sarasota.

The vessel was in need of repair.

"Of all the boats out here, that would be the worst one to take out," said a man who identified himself as Byron, who lives in a boat nearby. "All the bulkheads were loose. It would fall apart anyway. You probably didn't even need a storm."

But Kimberly decided to load up his children and sail his boat to Ft. Myers Beach for repairs, a trip of nearly a hundred miles. It wasn't long before a storm was bearing down.

Kimberly made a phone call to his brother saying they were in 6-foot seas and he was worried about their survival. He made that phone call Sunday, but the family on shore didn't call the Coast Guard until Tuesday.

The man in charge of the search says the delay helped make a successful rescue less likely.

"Just the time lapse after the event makes it challenging," offered Capt. Gregory Case, commander of the Coast Guard's St. Petersburg sector. "And just the area we have to cover. And just the fact it's a family out there. That's tough. We want to get out there and save them."

By Thursday evening,  searchers had only been able to save remnants of the family's life. The Coast Guard found the green and yellow kayaks the Kimberly boys  were known for paddling around their floating neighborhood in Sarasota.

"You'd see them paddling out in their kayak all the time, so you couldn't really miss them at all," says Derek Sledjeski, who works at the nearby marina.

People here wish they'd hadn't sailed out last Sunday and that someone would have called the Coast Guard sooner.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Missing family lived aboard boat, off the grid
  • Doctor takes stand in amputee's malpractice suit
  • Felons' voting-rights proposal goes on November ballot
  • Gasparilla pirates return for mayor
  • Hit-and-run victim suffers as driver remains free
  • Suspected shooter at large in Hill n' Dale: Hernando sheriff
  • Osprey steals man's favorite cashmere scarf to build nest
  • Podcast brings new leads to Orlando woman's 2006 disappearance
  • Pinellas Co. Animal Services warns of human hair dye dangers
  • Tampa company develops world-renowned flight simulator