Mom of missing Austin-area man: Waiting is ‘the hardest’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family and friends say they are paying for a helicopter and other resources to help in the search of a missing former U.S. Army Ranger from the Austin area.

A family friend also said the U.S. Coast Guard is helping in the search for Wrangler Leesman, a missing Pflugerville man who was last seen off the coast of Belize.

“It’s waiting that’s the hardest and not knowing,” said Dee-Dee Leesman, Wrangler’s mother, who lives outside Phoenix, Arizona.

Wrangler Leesman and a friend were on a small kayak off the coast on Tuesday when it flipped over, according to the San Pedro Sun newspaper in Belize.

“I know if anybody can do it, he can do it, and he’ll probably come home laughing at me,” said Dee-Dee Leesman. “Because the last thing he said to me is, mom, don’t try to write me. Don’t try to call me, you know I’m coming home.”

His friend, Bradley Evans Josker, was located by Coast Guard officials and told police strong winds and high waves knocked them from the kayak, the paper said. The two were holding on to the kayak when another wave hit them and they became separated.

Leesman, a former Army Ranger, has not been seen since.

Friends told KXAN that Leesman had survived tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, a helicopter crash and was at Fort Hood during the recent shootings on post.

Friends say Wrangler’s mom is trying to raise money for the efforts and so are other loved ones.

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