Search Called Off for Missing Boater

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Coast Guard officials suspended the search Sunday afternoon for a man missing from a boat found sinking nine miles off the Oxnard coast.

The Coast Guard called off the search for Robert P. Peterson, 50, of Santa Ynez about 4:30 p.m., after an airplane scoured the area for eight hours. The body of a woman believed to be Peterson's wife, Jodi, was found Saturday afternoon floating about four miles from the abandoned boat.

"We covered extensively the whole area where the body was found and where the boat was found," said Coast Guard spokeswoman Michelle O'Brienripley. "If there was any chance of finding any person, he would've been found."

The Ventura County coroner's office has scheduled an autopsy on the woman, but has not released positive identification pending notification of next of kin.

The Santa Ynez couple set out from Santa Barbara Harbor about 1 p.m. Friday. A man sailing near Santa Cruz Island found the abandoned powerboat near an oil rig platform at about 7:15 a.m. Saturday. The boat was leaking and had taken on more than 3 feet of water.

Officials also found Robert Peterson's checkbook, cell phone and passport on board, as well as seat cushions floating nearby. They do not know how many people were on the boat.

The craft, named Tootsy, was towed Saturday to the Anacapa Boat Yard at Channel Islands Harbor.

"We don't know how many people, we don't know where they were going, and we don't know what happened," Coast Guard Petty Officer Francis Fitzpatrick said.

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