The search for a 6-year-old boy who went missing in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday evening has been called off for the night.
Lamontea Taylor either fell off or was swept off a jetty at Longboat Pass around 6:30 p.m., the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said. Personnel from multiple agencies searched for him into the night before stopping because of darkness.
The search by Coast Guard resumed at daybreak Sunday. Authorities said Lamontea was with his family until he got caught in a rip current and swept out to sea. Signs prohibit swimming in the area because of strong currents.
"I'm just lost for words I don't know what to say. I'm just lost, weak, just lost,” said the boy’s mother,” Laketa Taylor.
She waited for word Sunday in the same picnic area on Coquina Beach where family and friends had been enjoying a cookout before it took a tragic turn. She said Lamontea and several other children went in to the water when she wasn't looking.
Lamontea's brother tried to save them all from the strong currents.
"Just came and jumped in the water and started grabbing, grabbed my other cousin and my stepsister out of the water but when I turned around I didn’t see my brother,” said Nicholas McGee.
Strangers who heard about the search also did what they could to find the boy. Some have been helping look since it all began.
"We continued to search with our flashlights until about 1:30 to see what we could find. Obviously we weren't able to do so,” said Elisha Evangelisto.
As the hours ticked by, the rescue turned to a recovery mission.
"For his life, I don't really feel there's hope for that. I just want my baby out of the water, to see him and touch him and stuff. I just want him out of there,” said Taylor.