Family of missing kayaker respond to body discovery - WNEM TV 5

Family of missing kayaker respond to body discovery

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Viola Francis went missing with her father, Jonathan, earlier this month while kayaking on the Sandusky Bay. Viola Francis went missing with her father, Jonathan, earlier this month while kayaking on the Sandusky Bay.
Jonathan Francis Jonathan Francis
ERIE COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

After nearly three weeks of searching, the recovery effort for a father and daughter who went missing while kayaking is over.

Two bodies believed to be 12-year-old Viola Francis and her father Jonathon were found Friday.

Those close to the family say they were hopeful that somehow the two would be found alive and well. Unfortunately, Friday's news broke their hearts.

"I can't wait until I get old, because I'll die and I'll be with her," said Viola's half-sister Taylor Snyder.

All Snyder wants is to be with her sister again.

"Me and Viola, we were a good match – to be sister and sister," she said.

About three weeks ago, Viola and 30-year-old Jonathon Francis went kayaking in the Sandusky Bay. The United States Coast Guard says a fisherman spotted Viola about eight miles off the coast of Vermilion around 11 a.m. Friday. The second body was spotted along a break wall just south of Cedar Point around 2:15 p.m.
The Sheriff's Office says jewelry and distinct tattoos lead them to tentatively identify the two bodies as Viola and Jonathan.

"I'm still just shocked," said Viola's stepfather Timothy Snyder. "I mean, you know, we hoped for the best – we hoped, hoped and hoped. It didn't turn out the way we had hoped it would."

Snyder describes Viola as a happy girl. She always had a smile on her face and she loved to be outdoors. He says Jonathon made sure she spent time doing what she loved most.

"He was a good dad," Snyder said. "He always took Viola out to do stuff – whether it be kayaking or fishing or…he did a lot of stuff with her, he was a good dad. He was a good guy."

The bodies found are believed to be those of Jonathon and Viola, but an official identification will come after autopsies are performed.

A memorial fund has been set up for Viola. Those wishing to donate can do so at any Fifth Third bank.

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