September 27, 2016

Update on death investigations

The Sheriff’s Office is working together with other state and federal agencies to investigate a number of recent deaths believed to be related to a Cuban migrant vessel which reportedly sank while on its way from Cuba to the United States last week.

All agencies involved now believe the five people found dead since Saturday and the three Cuban migrants found alive on Big Pine Key were most likely all from that same lost vessel. The Coast Guard is still reportedly out on the water searching for any possible survivors from that boat.

Sheriff’s Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo says there is no foul play suspected in any of the deaths. The main concern of all the agencies involved is to make sure a thorough search is made for anyone who might still be alive, and to identify those who died and notify their families of their deaths.


To recap: three people – two men and a woman – were found dead in the water approximately 23 miles offshore of Islamorada on Saturday. A man was subsequently found dead on a Ramrod Key beach later in the day on Saturday. Three men made it to shore on Big Pine Key and were taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection on Sunday evening and a woman’s body was recovered offshore of Little Torch Key on Munson Island on Monday. Detectives and investigators have been working with the three survivors in an attempt to determine what happened, and in an attempt to identify those who died and those who were on board the vessel that reportedly sank.

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