June 26, 2022

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Body of missing boater found in Trinity Bay east of Houston

2 min read

Rescue crews on Tuesday recovered the body of a missing 88-year-old angler who didn’t return home after a fishing expedition Monday in Trinity Bay east of Houston.

The boater was identified as W.F. Childress, who entered the water at Smith’s Point in the southeast portion of the bay around 8:30 a.m. Monday. When he didn’t return that afternoon, his wife called the Coast Guard to report he never made it home. Crews from the Coast Guard, Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and several fire departments did what they could Monday before storms moved into Southeast Texas and hindered their efforts. 

The man was operating a 16-foot aluminum fishing boat with a bimini canopy. He was destined for the Anahuac Channel, about 15 miles north-northeast from where he launched. Crews discovered mangled boat Tuesday afternoon. They found Childress’ body about 10 miles from the vessel. He was wearing a life jacket at the time, according to Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne. 


“Mr. Childress was an experienced boat handler and fisherman who obviously was unable to find safe harbor during yesterdays storm,” Hawthorne wrote in a Facebook post. “Prayers to him, his family and friends for this tragic loss. May he rest in peace.”

The sheriff’s office did not specify where in the bay the boat was found. 

When crews from the Coast Guard and other agencies started their search again Tuesday morning, the used several resources, including a helicopter. Around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, a Coast Guard helicopter was tracked on ABS-B Exchange flying in a grid pattern over Trinity Bay, ostensibly searching for the mariner. 

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A helicopter registered to the United States military flies over Trinity Bay as crews search for a missing boater Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

A helicopter registered to the United States military flies over Trinity Bay as crews search for a missing boater Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

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Hawthorne previously said Childress was well-acquainted with the waters of Trinity Bay. 

“He’s very familiar with the water and has spent most of his life fishing and shrimping the Galveston/Trinity Bay Complex,” Hawthorne wrote. 



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