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Missing boater is brother of Calif. Reps.

October 3, 2008 6:39:57 AM PDT
The brother of California U.S. Reps. Loretta and Linda Sanchez and his girlfriend were missing Friday after an apparent boating accident off the coast. "I am in shock. I am in total shock," said Carolyn Hogan.

Shock and disbelief, that is the reaction from Carolyn Hogan in Santa Ana, after learning her 51-year-old neighbor Henry Sanchez, was involved in a boating accident along with 48-year-old Penny Avila.

"This is just really terrible, terrible news," said Hogan.

Henry Sanchez is the brother of California U.S. Reps. Loretta and Linda Sanchez.

"The family must be devastated. The whole family was close," said Hogan.

The sisters were in Washington, D.C. when they heard the news. They released the following statement:

"Our family is thankful of the search and rescue efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard and other local agencies. We pray and hope that Henry and Penny are found alive and well."

Coast guard investigators say the debris they found Thursday about 5 miles off shore from San Pedro came from a 26-foot Bayliner, registered to Henry Sanchez.

Investigators believe Sanchez and Avila were on board the vessel on their way to Catalina Island around midnight Wednesday when they were involved in a boat accident.

Coast Guard crews began searching early Friday morning, but after covering 300 square miles they found no signs of Sanchez or Avila. Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard suspended its search.

"It doesn't mean that it's stopped, it just means that it- the case will be reopened, if anything new comes to light or is relevant," said Coast Guard Ensign Stephanie Young.

The Coast Guard, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other agencies were searching the ocean and checking area hospitals, Young said.

Catalina, about 20 miles off the coast, is a popular destination for boaters.

Loretta Sanchez represents the 47th District in Orange County. Linda Sanchez represents the 39th District in Los Angeles County.

 

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