Police have asked for the public's help in locating a Fort Myers teen police have classified as a missing/endangered person.
Erik Sanchez, 19, of 18092 Constitution Circle, was with a friend at 4513 S.W. 8th Place, Cape Coral, when Sanchez reportedly made statements that raised concerns for his safety. When the friend left the room for a moment, Sanchez ran from the residence, jumped into the canal as the friend attempted to talk to him, and started walking out into the water. The friend stated he jumped in after Sanchez, but Sanchez dove down under water and the friend never saw Sanchez come back up to the surface.
Police are seeking the whereabouts of Erik Sanchez, 19, after friends reported he entered a Cape canal and did not re-surface.
Divers and other rescue workers, who searched for almost two hours, could not locate Sanchez.
Police say a witness in the 900 block of Mohawk Parkway has confirmed that a male she saw running through her yard was Erik Sanchez after being shown a photo. Before she saw the photo, she described the male as hispanic, around 5-foot 9-inches, skinny build, wearing black shorts and no shirt with a diamond in his left ear.
"The witness' description was identical to the description provided by the friend, before family arrived at the scene and provided FD and PD personnel with a photo," officials said.
Sanchez has been entered as a missing/endangered person. Police ask that anyone with any information on the location of the Erik Sanchez contact the Cape Coral Police Department at 239-574-3223.
Police are continuing their search for a man reported missing after a search-and-rescue operation in a Cape canal failed to locate the teen during a multi-diver, near two-hour search.
Erik Sanchez, 19, of Fort Myers, along with two friends, were in the 900 block of Mohawk Parkway when Sanchez entered into the water, officials said. Neighbors then called 911 shortly after noon and reported the friends had gone into the canal to search for their friend who "apparently did not resurface."
Engine 9 was dispatched to what officials classified as a possible drowning, and a rescue diver entered the water to begin the search in under six minutes, "a remarkable feat considering the response time from the fire station and the time it takes to don the swim gear," officials said in a statement.
Additional units under the Command of Battalion Chief Christopher Moore arrived and a search of the canal was conducted.
"Firefighters conducted both a primary and a secondary search in zero visibility," said Michael Heeder with the Cape Coral Fire Department. "Using radio communications and a strong team effort, divers checked the entire area including under docks and along the edges."
Eastbound lanes of Mohawk were blocked between Southwest 11th Avenue and Southwest 9th Court due to the number of emergency vehicles assigned to the effort. Air support from the Lee County Sheriff's Office helicopter as well as Cape Coral PD patrol units and K9 assisted in searching the land areas around the canal, including the library nearby, officials said.
"After a search that took nearly two hours, the incident transitioned from a fire-based search & rescue effort to a police-based missing/endangered person incident," the release states.
The Cape Coral Police Department assumed the lead agency roll as firefighters concluded the effort.
The search effort is on-going.
Source: Cape Coral Fire Department