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Search continues for missing Lake Erie kayakers

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — Authorities have not abandoned their search for a father and his 12-year-old daughter who were last seen two weeks with ago their kayaks along Lake Erie.


Ruth Brown, third from right, mother of missing 12-year-old Viola Francis, stands with friends April 7 near the edge of the Sandusky Bay. Authorities along Lake Erie say they have suspended the search for Viola Davis and her father, Jonathan Francis, who went kayaking Saturday and were reported missing Sunday. The Erie County Sheriff's office said two empty kayaks were found floating Sunday morning in the bay, but there was no sign of the 30-year-old man and his daughter. (AP Photo/Toledo Blade, Amy E. Voigt)

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office dive team searched along Sandusky Bay over the past week for any signs of the Jonathan Francis, 30, of Sandusky, and his daughter Viola Francis.

Authorities say they are missing and presumed drowned.

They had set out to go out kayaking the evening of April 6 without taking life jackets. Francis' girlfriend said the weather was mild when they left to kayak.

She said the pair never came home, and searchers found their two empty kayaks the next day along the water.

Members of the county sheriff's dive team looked on both sides of the bay over the past week, said Ottawa County Chief Deputy Jeff Hickman.

"They searched the entire shoreline and they came up with nothing," he told the News-Herald newspaper ( in Port Clinton.

The U.S. Coast Guard searched the water with boats and a helicopter after the two went missing before calling off their search the same weekend.

Hickman said they still hope to recover Francis and his daughter.

"We strive every time to get people out of the water so families can move on, have closure," he said.

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