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Divers Continue Grim Search for Boy's Body

July 15, 1997|SCOTT HADLY

With painstaking care, a team of scuba divers from the Oxnard Police and Fire departments searched the depths near Channel Islands Harbor on Monday for the body of presumed drowning victim Alex Cabrera, 15.

Alex disappeared into the surf on Friday while swimming with two friends at Oxnard State Beach near the Embassy Suites Hotel.

A novice swimmer, Alex apparently was caught in the rough surf churned by a north wind and a south swell.

Teams of searchers from the Oxnard Police Department, Oxnard Fire Department, Ventura County Sheriff's Department and Coast Guard have searched off and on for Alex's body since he slipped under the water.

On Monday, Police Cmdr. Chuck Hookstra and Fire Capt. Mike O'Malia coordinated as four divers at a time carefully searched the waters near two jetties at Channel Islands Harbor.

"This is where things tend to collect," O'Malia said as two crew members on a wave-ski slowly towed two divers searching underwater.

Family members spent much of Saturday, Sunday and Monday in a grim vigil, hoping that Alex's body would be recovered.

"We're just waiting for him to come out of the water," said cousin Miguel Zenteno, 36, who scanned the waves for hours Monday with his girlfriend.

Up the beach, family friend Manuel Martinez, 30, did the same.

"They'd like to find his body so they can have a funeral," Martinez said.

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