North Texas

Search Called Off for Mansfield Student, 16, Missing in Gulf Near Corpus Christi

The search for a North Texas teenager swept away by Gulf surf Friday at Corpus Christi was called off Saturday.

The U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for 16-year-old Carlos Perez, a Lake Ridge High School ninth-grader, on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Coast Guard sent their condolences to the family. Right now officials said that there are no other agencies conducting a search.

"We all hope for the best, but there is a belief in everyone's body that you're going to have to prepare for the worst," said freshman Brendan Smith, who plays soccer with Perez.

A Corpus Christi police statement said officers received a call for help shortly before 11 a.m. on Padre Island near Bob Hall Pier. A man told arriving officers that the teen had been swimming with a group but couldn't be found when the group came ashore.

A police spokesman said rough surf quickly ended a boat search, but officers continued to search the shore while the U.S. Coast Guard searched by air until nightfall Friday.

The Coast Guard planned to reassess weather conditions before initiating search efforts Saturday.

Parents of students on the trip said the stop at the beach was a planned part of the trip. David Ward's son, a junior, was with Perez.

"He called me around 2 p.m. and said there was an incident on the beach, but didn't go into too much detail," Ward said. "I asked if he was involved and he said, 'Yes. I was there.'  Pretty soon after that he said we were at the beach and one of the kids is missing and the Coast Guard is looking and they haven't found him."

"Hopefully he's alive. We're just going to keep praying," Mendoza said.

In a statement, Dr. Jim Vaszauskas, superintendent of the Mansfield Independent School District said the missing student had been attending the SkillsUSA state competition:

"Dear Mansfield ISD Family:

 It is with deep sadness that we must share with you that a ninth grader at Lake Ridge High School was in Corpus Christi for the SkillsUSA state competition and went missing in the rough Gulf of Mexico waters south of Bob Hall Pier. Corpus Christi firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are currently searching for the student.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the student's family as the rescue crews continue their search efforts. The Mansfield ISD community is doing everything we can at this time to provide comfort and assistance to the family and to our students.

The other students at the SkillsUSA state competition will be returning back home as quickly as possible in order to reunite them with their families. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation.

Dr. Jim Vaszauskas

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