Search suspended for 4 missing boaters off coast of Florida after rainy, stormy weekend

Family members say one of the missing men has medical issues and is worried because it was cold and rainy in Florida this past weekend and he doesn't have access to his medication.

VENICE, Fla. – The search for four missing men who never returned from a boating trip off the coast of Florida was suspended Monday evening. 

FOX 13 in Tampa reported that the search had been going on since Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico from Stump Pass to Longboat Pass. The men, who police say are experienced fishermen, left Venice around 8 a.m. Saturday and did not return Saturday night as planned, according to a family member.

"Shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, we were dispatched to the marina to check on the pickup truck and the boat trailer that was left behind as a family member notified us that they hadn't returned yet," shared Captain Andy Leisenring with the Venice Police Department.


The group’s vessel was a 1995 23-foot white SportCraft, registration #FL9937HC. 

The vehicle and boat trailer the men left behind were found at the Marina Park Boat Ramp, near the Historic Venice Train Depot, according to officials.

The missing boaters are identified as Angel Hernandez Munoz, 38, of North Port; Ruben Mora Sr., 54, of Port Charlotte; Julio Cesar Cordero Briones, 37, of North Port; and Alfonso Vargas Parra, 35, of North Port. 

Ruben Mora's son, Juan Raul Mora, says his dad has always loved fishing, which is what the group set out to do on Saturday morning.

Juan Mora said when his family didn't hear from his father, they contacted the police.


"My dad, it's just us and his four boys. Unfortunately, we just lost one of my brothers. We've been going through a lot. My grandma passed away four months ago, my brother just died, and now my dad's missing, so we're going through a lot. I don't even know how to feel at this point, there's just too much tragedy in my family at this point," shared Juan Mora.

Ruben Mora has diabetes and issues with high blood pressure, so his son is worried that it's been cold and rainy and he doesn't have access to his medication.

Juan Raul says authorities began trying to track the men's phones, and the last time one pinged was Saturday morning near the Siesta Key area.

Officials searched over 4,600 square miles of surface in the Gulf and went out up to 80 nautical miles offshore. Authorities said the search spanned from Sarasota County to Collier County.

"Today, we've had about 13 of those local law enforcement vessels out searching, and they've been searching the areas up to about 10 miles out. And the U.S. Coast Guard has been searching beyond that," said Captain Leisenring. 

Officials say the Coast Guard sent several different vessels and aircraft, including fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. 

Agencies involved in the search included the Venice Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the Sarasota Police Department, Venice Fire Rescue, the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, the Lee County Sheriff's Office and Sea Tow Venice. 


Police say bad weather could have been a factor as winds and seas picked up overnight and into Sunday.

Florida just experienced a very rainy, stormy weekend, which led to the postponement of the Daytona 500 to Monday after relentless rain on Sunday.

Anyone with information and boaters out on the water today is asked to stay vigilant and report any information to VPD Detective Courtney Zak at 941-486-2444 or; or use radio Channel 16 VHF.