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Body of missing teen swimmer recovered

By TIFFANY REPECKI - | Jul 8, 2024

The body of a Cape Coral teen, who went missing last week while swimming at Blind Pass on the islands, was recovered by authorities Thursday following a two-day search that involved multiple area agencies.

The Sanibel Police Department identified the victim as Isaac Breese, 17, a student-athlete at North Fort Myers High School.

Two other teens were successfully rescued.

“On Thursday afternoon, the Sanibel Police Marine Patrol Unit recovered remains of the young man who went missing at Blind Pass after entering the water late Tuesday morning,” Police Chief William Dalton said in a statement on July 5. “With the assistance of the State District 21 Medical Examiner and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the young man’s remains were positively identified this evening.”

Captiva Island Fire Control District Fire Chief Jeff Pawul reported that the call came in on July 2 at about 11:47 a.m. for three swimmers in distress at Blind Pass. The Captiva crew responded via rescue boat, and a crew from the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District responded via land as its station is closer.

When the Sanibel crew arrived, a rescue swimmer swam out and secured two victims — a boy and a girl, both about 17 years old and both local residents. The Captiva crew got all three onto the boat.

“It was a miraculous job to be able to swim out in those rough conditions and be able to save two victims at one time,” Pawul said on July 5. “It’s very unfortunate we weren’t able to get to the third.”

Informed that Isaac had also entered the water, emergency responders immediately commenced a search-and-rescue operation for the missing teen. The island fire districts and SPD were joined by the LSCO, United States Coast Guard and additional partner agencies, including the Iona-McGregor Fire District, Cape Coral Fire Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“We had multiple agencies. We had boats in the water, we had drones in the air,” Pawul said, adding that the LCSO deployed its helicopter and the U.S. Coast Guard brought in its plane for the search.

On July 4, Dalton reported that the operation had moved into a search-and-recovery.

“It’s been 48 hours since the swimmer who entered the water at Blind Pass has gone missing,” he said in a statement. “The thoughts of the entire Sanibel community are with the family and friends of the young man during this difficult time.”

With the announcement of the recovery, Dalton thanked the agencies that responded.

“I want to thank all the agencies who assisted with the search for Isaac,” he said. “On behalf of all the first responders involved, I ask that you keep him and his family in your prayers.”

The SPD asked that the public respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time.

“All of our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” Pawul said. “We’re all thinking of them.”

According to his profile on the NCSA College Recruiting website, Isaac attended North Fort Myers High School and he played soccer. He was a starter on the varsity team in both 2023 and 2022.

It also states that Isaac was on the A/B Honor Roll and involved with the Model UN.