Mystery grows in case of missing cancer expert and empty boat seen adrift off Florida

·2 min read
Collier County Sheriff's Office photo

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a prominent Florida cancer doctor last seen headed out to sea on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

His boat was found adrift the next day, with no one aboard, officials say.

The Coast Guard says it found no sign of Dr. Chaundre Cross of Naples, despite covering 13,100 square miles by air and sea.

The decision to stop looking adds to a growing mystery over what became of Cross, a nationally known cancer expert and a “speaker for pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.”

He was reported missing Aug. 10, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

“Cross, 49, was last seen on his boat — a 33-foot Sea Ray with ‘Vitamin Sea’ on the back — leaving Naples Bay Marina around 7:30 (a.m.),” the sheriff’s office said in on Twitter.

“He hasn’t returned and family members are concerned.”

His empty boat was found Aug. 11, “adrift 16 miles south of Sanibel Island,” the Coast Guard says. The barrier island is about 155 miles south of Tampa, in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It is always a difficult decision to suspend a search and rescue case,” Capt. Michael Kahle, commander of Sector St. Petersburg, said in the news release.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of Dr. Cross.”

Friends and patients took to social media to ask for help in the search. Many continued to hold out hope, while also looking for explanations.

“He devotes his life to saving the lives of so many, now it’s time to save his,” Liz Dixon Hashaway wrote on Facebook. “Maybe, just maybe there’s a miracle and they will find him somewhere.”

“Dear God please bring him home safely. Dr. Cross is my husband’s oncologist, he is an incredible doctor,” Geri Madden Vicari posted.

“What in the world could have happened?” Fonda Pearson Pellegrini said.

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