Empty boat found floating near CA marina weeks ago. Now missing angler’s body is found

Screengrab from Facebook

The body of a missing angler was found weeks after his empty boat was discovered floating adrift near a California marina, deputies said.

While on a Christmas Day fishing trip in the San Pablo Bay, William Hady Chebib, 32, of Petaluma, told family he was headed back to the Black Point Boat Launch in Novato at around 3:30 p.m., a news release from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office said.

However, he never returned, the sheriff’s office said, and his boat, Lil LB, was found empty near Point San Pablo at about 11:30 a.m. the following day, McClatchy News previously reported.

Multiple agencies, including the sheriff’s office and United States Coast Guard, searched the area, the sheriff’s office said. Efforts to find Chebib were suspended after he was not located during an “extensive search.”

Nonetheless, family, friends and volunteers continued to search for Chebib, according to Facebook posts from his family.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce the apparent drowning of our son, brother, and good friend Will Chebib,” a family member wrote on Facebook on Dec. 28. “We are now turning our mission towards recovering him and bringing closure to all those who love him so much.“

Weeks later, “a volunteer aquatic search group, California Recovery Divers,” who had searched for Chebib multiple times since his disappearance, found his body about a mile “east of the Hamilton Wetlands within the San Pablo Bay waters” on Thursday, Jan. 12, the sheriff’s office said.

“Will, you are so loved,” a friend wrote on Facebook, while also thanking all those who helped search for Chebib.

Chebib’s cause and manner of death are pending, the sheriff’s office said.

Novato is about 30 miles north of San Francisco.

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