CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (KXAN) — An Austin man missing since Saturday afternoon was found dead in Copano Bay Monday night.
A multi-agency search led by the U.S. Coast Guard was called off after three days and over 240 square miles of searching on Monday. Hours later, family members told KXAN that a friend who was also assisting in the search found the body of Kevin Farrell, 54, washed up on the shore.
A good Samaritan called the U.S. Coast Guard at 2:02 p.m. Saturday to report a boat idling in Copano Bay with no one inside. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department found a fishing rod and a cell phone in the boat and contacted his wife, Melissa Farrell. She explained that Kevin had left for a fishing trip in Rockport at around 12:30 p.m. that day.
Kevin is said to have started his trip from the Copano Bay Fishing Pier dock and said he was heading to Newcomb’s Point. His boat was found about a half mile south of that area two hours later. A fishing pole that belonged to him was found on the north shore of Copano Bay.
Authorities are working on an autopsy report, but his wife explained that the circumstances around his death lead his family to believe he died of an abrupt medical issue.
Melissa said that her husband’s fishing line had not been cast yet, and his pole was propped up as he always did when he was testing the depths of the water.
“Although I think life jackets are great, I don’t think it would have helped him,” Farrell said. “But we don’t know it until we get the [autopsy] report back.”
Farrell said that she and her husband would rarely wear life jackets when they went out fishing, but after his death she said she wishes they would have.
“I just plead [with] everyone to wear their life jackets, be safe,” she said.
Melissa explained that she and her husband both grew up in south Austin. They raised their three children in Dripping Springs and then four years ago they moved to Rockport, hoping to spend more time with their grandchildren. Kevin was a fourth-generation electrician and maintained a business in the Austin area.
“I did everything I could to make him happy and he did everything he could to make me happy, and we had a wonderful life together,” Melissa said.
“They are a wonderful family and it’s going to be a great loss to all who knew him and loved him and especially to lose someone this way to me is devastating,” said family friend Bodie Hudson. She noted that Kevin was doing what he loved to do — fishing — when he died.
“If God was needing an electrician in Heaven, he picked the best one,” said David Kyle, a childhood friend of Kevin’s. “He was just larger than life and a good man, real tender-hearted too.”
Kyle traveled down from the Austin area to help in the search for Kevin.
“Him being found is going to be the beginning of a very long, hard journey for the family,” Kyle said.
Kevin’s family plans to have a memorial for him in Dripping Springs.