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Stephen Stafford (19) drowned after his kayak capsized and his body was found two weeks later
Published: Mar 07, 2008 @ 11:26 AM
Stephen Stafford (19)
Feb 29, 2008
Cause of Death:
Dripping Springs, TX
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They tied a yellow ribbon around a tree outside the Stafford home in Dripping Springs. It was a symbol of hope that 19-year-old Stephen Stafford would come home.
Stafford disappeared on a kayaking trip in rough waters off the shores of Port Aransas. A co-worker who was on the trip with Stephen was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, but Stephen disappeared beneath the waves after he was sighted by the Coast Guard. His body washed up on a beach 30 miles south of where his kayak capsized almost two weeks later.
"It was closure for me I knew that I could have him home and have a place I could go visit him," his mother Susan Stafford told Austin News. "It was a relief for me."
Meanwhile, Stephen's girlfiriend Erika Izquiedo had mixed feelings about the discovery. "I thought I would feel better knowing, but it almost kind of made me mad because then there's no chance," Izquierdo said.
Stephen Stafford's body was found on Friday.
Susan Stafford explains, "The Coast Guard had done a flyover with the helicopter and then someone else had pulled him out of the water."
Stafford disappeared on a kayaking trip with a co-worker on February 17th. Both kayaks were capsized by waves. Stafford's co-worker survived.
Stafford, on the other hand, disappeared beneath the waves once he was seen. Anticipating a low-key fishing trip, he was not wearing a life jacket.
With Spring Break coming up -- and thousands hitting the beaches --Stafford's mother and girlfriend want others to learn from this tragedy. According to statistics compiled by the Coast Guard, 80 percent of those who drowned would have lived if they had been wearing a life jacket.
Stephen would have turned 20 later this month. Now his family plans to go back to Padre Island and post a warning sign and a memorial for his birthday.
"I don't want this to happen to anybody else, that's what makes me feel good, that's why I want to do all that stuff, too," Susan Stafford said. "I don't want anybody else to go through what we're going through."
Lost Kayakers Body Found; Family Grieves
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