RACICOT, Lee

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Lee Racicot

Lee Racicot (c. 1955-2014), a 59-year-old civilian employee, went missing on San Clemente Island on October 6, 2014. He didn't return from evening fishing. His body was found in 100 feet of water by a sport diver eight months later.



In the News~

October 8, 2014 [Navy Times]: “SAN DIEGO — The Navy and Coast Guard are searching for a civilian employee from the military's San Clemente Island off Southern California who has not been heard from since heading out to fish. Navy spokesman Jon Nylander said Wednesday that a Coast Guard cutter and helicopter and one Navy helicopter were searching for the employee. The Navy is not identifying him yet. Los Angeles County rescue crews are also participating in the search. Nylander says the employee appears to have gone out fishing alone Tuesday night and was supposed to commute to work with another employee Wednesday morning but did not show up. San Clemente Island is the Navy's only ship-to-shore bombardment range. Nearly all military and civilian personnel do not live on the island but stay there while working.”


October 13, 2014 [UT San Diego]: “Worker missing at San Clemente Island. Search continues for civilian missing from Navy Island off San Diego. UPDATE: Thursday, 6 p.m. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will continue to search throughout the night for a missing civilian employee from the Navy's San Clemente Island installation. The employee, who works with the Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation division, was last seen Tuesday evening. The worker's name continues to be withheld by the Navy while the search continues.”


ORIGINAL STORY:

“A civilian employee at the Navy’s San Clemente Island installation is missing, Navy officials said midday Wednesday. Coast Guard, Navy, and Los Angeles Fire and Rescue personnel have been searching for the worker since 6 a.m. The employee apparently went fishing Tuesday evening but then didn’t turn up to commute with another employee Wednesday morning, the Navy said in a news release. San Clemente is a Navy-owned island 70 miles off San Diego. It is home to the Navy’s only ship-to-shore live firing range. Navy Seals and Camp Pendleton Marines use it for maneuvers and Navy ships and jets shell it for target practice. The island runs in part thanks to about 200 civilian federal employees and contractors who do jobs such as operate the island’s cafeteria and public works. They also live on San Clemente during the week and fly home to San Diego on weekends.”


October 14, 2014 [UTSanDiego]: “Missing worker presumed dead. The Navy has ended the search for an employee missing at San Clemente Island, and he is presumed dead. The Navy worker was identified Tuesday as 59-year-old Lee Racicot of San Diego, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation employee at the Navy-owned island about 70 miles off San Diego. Racicot was a recreational diver, and a Navy official said it is presumed that he was diving or snorkeling alone for fish off San Clemente on the evening of Oct. 7. Racicot didn't appear for work the next morning and a more than two-day search began, including Navy and Coast Guard boats. Jon Nylander, a spokesman for Coronado Naval Base, said the search focused on the water surrounding the island. San Clemente is home to the Navy’s only ship-to-shore live firing range. Navy SEALs and Camp Pendleton Marines use it for maneuvers, and Navy ships and jets shell it for target practice. The island runs in part thanks to about 200 civilian federal employees and contractors who do jobs such as operate the island’s cafeteria and public works. They also live on San Clemente during the week and fly home to San Diego on weekends. Racicot was one of those employees.”


October 14, 2014 [NBC-7]: “Search ends for civilian employee near San Clemente Island. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard suspended the search for a Coronado man working on the military's San Clemente Island. Lee Racicot, 59, was reported missing Wednesday, October 8, one day after he left to go fishing, officials said. Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, two Coast Guard cutters and Los Angeles County rescue crews combed the area for more than two days, but they were unable to find the civilian employee. Racicor lived on his boat at the Coronado Yacht Club, friends told NBC 7. 'He loved the water. He loved to fish. He loved to go lobstering. He loved to do all of those kinds of things,' longtime friend Marylee Goyan said through tears. 'He was everyone's friend,' Goyan added. Friends said Racicot would go out of his way to help a neighbor. In August, he organized a charity boating fundraiser for Sharp Hospital. 'When he was approached to be the chairman of that group, he gladly accepted right away,' said Fabian Arreola with the Coronado yacht Club. 'I hope he's in a better place,' Arreola said. San Clemente Island is a Navy bombing range. Nearly all military and civilian personnel do not live on the island but stay there while working. Racicot was an employee for Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island (NALFSCI.) He helped organize recreational activities for personnel, Navy spokesman Jon Nylander said.”


October 14, 2014 [NavyTimes]: “SAN DIEGO — The Navy and Coast Guard have suspended the search for a civilian employee working on the military's San Clemente Island off Southern California. The Navy said Tuesday that Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, two Coast Guard cutters and Los Angeles County rescue crews combed the area for more than two days but were unable to find 59-year-old Lee Racicot. Officials say Racicot was reported missing Wednesday, a day after he had gone fishing. San Clemente Island is a Navy bombing range. Nearly all military and civilian personnel do not live on the island but stay there while working. Navy spokesman Jon Nylander says Racicot helped organize recreational activities for personnel.”


June 16, 2015 [LAT]: “Investigators recovered an unidentified man’s body Monday from the ocean floor near San Clemente Island, authorities said. The body was first spotted Sunday afternoon by a recreational diver, who alerted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that the body was about 100 feet underwater, sheriff’s officials said. Sheriff’s divers began searching late Sunday near San Clemente Island, a 57-square-mile patch owned by the U.S. Navy that sits about 25 miles south of Catalina Island and 75 miles northwest of San Diego. After stopping at dusk, sheriff's divers resumed scouring the ocean floor early Monday. The man’s body was pulled from the water about 10:30 a.m. and has been released to the L.A. County coroner’s office, which has not yet identified the man. Anyone with information about the recovered body is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5550.”


June 16, 2015 [Santa Cruz Sentinel]: “LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sheriff's detectives are investigating how a man's body ended up on the ocean floor off the coast of San Clemente Island. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says the unidentified body was discovered Sunday afternoon by a recreational diver. It was about 100 feet underwater. Sheriff's divers weren't able to retrieve it until Monday morning. It was turned over to the coroner. San Clemente Island is the southernmost of the Channel Islands that line the Southern California coast. The island is owned by the U.S. Navy, which uses it for training exercises. Other Channel Islands include the popular tourist destination of Santa Catalina Island.”


June 17, 2015 [OCRegister]: “A civilian Naval employee who went missing in October was identified as the body found in San Clemente Island on Sunday. The body of Lee Racicot, 60, of Coronado, was recovered by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s divers from under 100 feet of water on Monday morning after a search the previous day was called off because of lack of visibility. Racicot, who worked as an Morale, Welfare and Recreation employee and was a recreational diver, went fishing in the waters off the island on October 7, U-T San Diego reported. He didn’t show up to work the following morning and Navy and Coast Guard crews conducted a two-day search. He was presumed dead after efforts to find him failed. A cause of death has not been determined. San Clemente Island is the southernmost of the Channel Islands and owned and operated by the Navy, and employs around 200 people.”


June 18, 2015 [LAT]: “Officials have identified the body found this week near San Clemente Island as a 60-year-old civilian U.S. Navy employee who had been missing since October, authorities said Wednesday. Body found on ocean floor near San Clemente Island. After being pulled from the ocean by Los Angeles County sheriff's divers, investigators determined the man is Lee Racicot, according to Lt. Kelly Yagerlener of the county coroner's office. Racicot was believed to have gone diving or snorkeling on the night of Oct. 7, but he didn’t show up to work the next day at the Navy-owned San Clemente Island, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported last year. A search by the Navy and Coast Guard was unsuccessful. On Sunday, a recreational diver spotted a man’s body about 100 feet below the surface, and divers recovered the body Monday morning, according to the Sheriff’s Department. No cause of death has been determined, Yagerlener said. San Clemente Island sits about 25 miles south of Catalina Island and 75 miles northwest of San Diego, and is used for training Marines and Navy SEALs. Racicot was one of the 200 civilian employees at the 57-square-mile island.”


October 8, 2014 [Navy Times]: “SAN DIEGO — The Navy and Coast Guard are searching for a civilian employee from the military's San Clemente Island off Southern California who has not been heard from since heading out to fish. Navy spokesman Jon Nylander said Wednesday that a Coast Guard cutter and helicopter and one Navy helicopter were searching for the employee. The Navy is not identifying him yet. Los Angeles County rescue crews are also participating in the search. Nylander says the employee appears to have gone out fishing alone Tuesday night and was supposed to commute to work with another employee Wednesday morning but did not show up. San Clemente Island is the Navy's only ship-to-shore bombardment range. Nearly all military and civilian personnel do not live on the island but stay there while working.”