Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Lakeport man reported missing; submerged boat found in lake Wednesday

LAKEPORT – Authorities are investigating the recent disappearance of a Lakeport man whose boat was found partially submerged in Clear Lake this past week.

William Michael Farrell, 49, was last seen leaving in his boat on Clear Lake from the Konocti Vista Casino Resort Marina on Sunday night, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Late last Monday afternoon, Gene Bedros, a friend of Farrell's, contacted deputies and reported that Farrell had left the Konocti Vista Marina in his 14-foot wooden boat to meet Bedros at his home near Rocky Point in north Lakeport. Bauman said they were planning to get together to celebrate Farrell's birthday.

However, Farrell never arrived, and Bedros apparently did not realize he had actually embarked until the following day, according to Bauman.

Bauman said that Bedros and Farrell’s girlfriend, Roberta Perchar, reportedly spent most of the day Monday checking the shoreline between Konocti Vista and Rocky Point for Farrell or his boat but found no sign of either.

While gathering preliminary information on the missing boater Monday evening, the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol was called out to commence searching the lake. Bauman said searches were conducted, spanning the waters north of the Konocti Vista marina and beyond Rocky Point, as well as to the south and east of the marina.

As night time fell, a search of the open water between the west and north shores of Clear Lake continued by use of radar but neither Farrell or his boat could be located, Bauman said.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, adverse conditions on the lake prevented any further efforts and the search for Farrell was suspended for the day. Bauman said deputies continued checking with friends and acquaintances of Farrell the following day to see if anyone had heard from him but none had.

On Wednesday at about 8 a.m., the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol located an object adrift on the surface of the lake about 400 feet off the Buckingham Peninsula, Bauman said.

On closer inspection, the object was identified as a capsized boat, partially submerged with only 2 feet of the bow remaining above the surface. Bauman said the boat vaguely matched the description of Farrell’s boat and was towed in to the Marine Patrol facility at Braito’s Marina.

Farrell's friends and family members were asked to respond to examine the boat and it was positively identified as Farrell’s. Bauman said personal items found in the boat were also identified as belonging to Farrell. There were no obvious signs of a collision or other damage to the boat.

Perchar and Farrell reportedly live near the Konocti Vista Marina and she told deputies that on Sunday evening, Farrell had asked her to accompany him in his boat to go to Bedros’ home for an informal birthday celebration, according to Bauman's report. Perchar declined as it was too windy and cold for her to go out on the boat.

Sometime between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. that night, Perchar noticed Farrell’s car was gone from the residence and was now parked near the resort. She went to the casino to see if he was there and after an employee told her they had seen Farrell about 40 minutes prior, she checked on his boat and it was gone.

Based on information provided by Perchar, it appears Farrell’s boat had a possible leak and was underpowered with an outboard motor that had a history of mechanical problems, Bauman said.

The boat was very old, built in 1956, and an examination of the boat by Marine Patrol personnel indicates it could have easily been swamped by the windy conditions that prevailed on the lake Sunday afternoon and evening, he explained.

Farrell is described as a white male adult, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 185 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes and a goatee-style beard. Bauman said Farrell has tattoos on both forearms and a significant surgical scar at the center of his chest and abdomen. It is unknown what he was wearing Sunday night.


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