'Heart Aching Time': Search for 26-Year-Old Marine Missing Off Coast of Puerto Rico Suspended

The search for a missing U

Published Time: 03.04.2024 - 22:31:18 Modified Time: 03.04.2024 - 22:31:18

The search for a missing U.S. Marine off the coast of Puerto Rico has been suspended.

The Coast Guard announced the suspension of its search for 26-year-old Samuel Wanjiru on Sunday, March 31 — four days after the Massachusetts man disappeared in the beach area of “La Pared” in Luquillo.

Wanjiru was visiting the island with family when he “came into distress” while in the water, according to a previous news release from the federal agency.

In total, 14 air searches “covering a span of 264 square nautical miles” were conducted between Wanjiru’s disappearance on Wednesday and the suspension of the search on Sunday, per the Coast Guard. A surface search was conducted as well.

“We keep Cpl. Samuel Wanjiru and his family in our prayers, hoping they find strength and closure during this most difficult time,” said Captain Jose E. Diaz, who serves as commander of the Coast Guard Sector in San Juan.

Wanjiru, who lived in Worcester, was a Reserve Marine corporal assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Marine Aircraft Group 49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, in Chicopee, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Natasha Castillo, Wanjiru’s partner, started a GoFundMe campaign for the various expenses the Marine’s family has encountered since his disappeara -

nce. More than $6,300 has been donated so far.

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“Samuel’s mother and I are trying to get as much resources and help as we can,” Castillo wrote, adding that the family “will not give up hope in finding” Wanjiru.

“We ask that people send prayers and love during this devastating and heart aching time,” Castillo added.

Six people drowned off the coast of Puerto Rico in March, according to the Coast Guard. Among those who died were two U.S. service members.

“The loss of life in Puerto Rico beaches during March has been quite surreal,” Diaz said in Monday’s news release.

High surf and rip currents have recently been impacting beaches on the north, east and west sides of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Coast Guard encourages those participating in water-based activities off the coast to “pay close attention and monitor National Weather Service Advisories” as well as “take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with the persisting High Surf and Rip Current conditions.”

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