Missing boater in Lake Weir found dead, Marion deputies say

The Citrus Springs man was found drowned after being reported missing earlier in the week

The view from Sky 6 of the search effort in Lake Weir on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A missing boater in Lake Weir was discovered dead on Thursday, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The department said the missing boater, 32-year-old Joseph Cruz of Citrus Springs, was found drowned Thursday morning after he was reported missing Tuesday afternoon.

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The sheriff’s office was called around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday about a boat stuck on Lake Weir, from which two children and Cruz had been swimming.

Deputies said the boat began to drift while Cruz and the children were swimming, at which point one of the children went to get the boat back so they could pick up the other child and Cruz — both still in the water.

However, deputies added that after the child had brought the boat back to where they had been swimming, they were unable to find Cruz.

Sheriff’s office officials said Wednesday that MCSO’s aviation unit, marine unit and Underwater Recovery Team searched for Cruz through Tuesday afternoon and night.

Search efforts resumed throughout Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said.

The Ocala StarBanner reported that the children still onboard were between the ages of 8-12 years old.

At 7:15 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement was finally able to locate Cruz’s body, which the sheriff’s office said had “preliminary signs” indicating he had drowned.

About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.