|Published:||Sep 11, 2012 4:06 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 11, 2012 4:06 PM EDT|
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- The Charlotte County Sheriff's Aviation Unit helicopter located two missing boaters on September 2nd, after a suspected alcohol-related incident left them stranded in the water for hours. Further investigation revealed that two of the people involved were employees of the sheriff's office, who have since been reprimanded for unbecoming conduct.
Evidence Supervisor Erin Hume and Evidence Custodian Melody Shinner both received letters of reprimand from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office explaining that their actions brought embarrassment not only on themselves, but on the department as well.
Hume, Shinner and two additional females sent a distress call from the 23-foot vessel they were riding in, claiming two men had been ejected from the boat and were missing near Boca Grande.
Eight different agencies responded, beginning a search and rescue operation.
Deputies located the two missing men with the FLIR equipment, just after midnight; the men were in waist deep water, frantically waving. They were located in the water about 1½ miles north of Cape Haze Point, and about a quarter mile off shore.
All parties involved were intoxicated, but not in need of medical attention.
After further questioning hours later, Hume explained that the two men had been fooling around and jumped into the water. When they refused to get back in the boat, she and Shinner took control of the boat. They made several wide circles around Turtle Bay before returning to the area the two men had been swimming in and were unable to find them. After approximately 45 minutes, they called for help.
Shinner told investigators she didn't know whether the men were thrown from the boat or had jumped into the water, but that she and Hume left them in jest, after they refused to get back in the boat.
As all parties were intoxicated, a road unit had to assist in transporting them back to Shinner's home.
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