Body identified as Frank Cipriano

More than a week after his disappearance, the body of a missing boater from Newport Beach has been found and identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Frank Cipriano, 45, was reported missing Aug. 8 after his abandoned skiff was found a quarter mile offshore from Santa Catalina Island in a diving spot, Eagle Reef.

Although Cipriano's body was recovered from the waters Wednesday at Lion's Head, northeast of Catalina's Cherry Cove, it took several days to establish his identity, said investigator R. Wert with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Wert, who was in charge of the investigation because Cipriano lived in Newport Beach, said the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department called him early Monday to let him know.

"Even though they had the body, they were having a hard time identifying him," he said. "Other means had to be taken. We didn't find out until this morning that it was him. Nobody knew until today."

Cipriano's disappearance was reported by a family who had hired him to pilot their 46-foot powerboat, which was set to stop off at Catalina on Aug. 7.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard at Terminal Island, Cipriano and the family went their own way for the evening, at which time Cipriano went for a hike and was never heard from again. His skiff was later discovered offshore.

A search-and-rescue operation was launched, and several Coast Guard cutters searched 400 square miles in and around Catalina Island for nearly 24 hours, officials said.

Helicopter flights were also dispatched and sheriff's deputies searched on land as well.

But after a day's worth of looking, the Coast Guard called off the rescue operation in the early-morning hours of Aug. 9, determining that too much time had elapsed for Cipriano to have survived in the cold waters.

Coast Guard officials said Cipriano, who was single and did not have children, was not wearing a life jacket at the time of his disappearance. He was dressed only in a polo shirt and board shorts.

Wert could not comment on the condition of Cipriano's body.

However, Wert said there was no indication of foul play or that Cipriano's disappearance was suspicious..

"But I wouldn't want to comment on what the Los Angeles County sheriffs are looking into," he said. "I wouldn't want to jeopardize their investigation."

Tamara Abraham, an investigator for the missing persons unit, was working on the case, but could not be reached for comment.

An autopsy is pending at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

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