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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Search to continue Friday for teenage airplane passenger

The search for a 17-year-old boy off the coast of Cedar Key will continue Friday, as Levy County officials look for the remaining passenger of a single-engine airplane that went missing more than a week ago.

Dylan Jerrels, who had been on the plane with his father and his father’s fiancee, was scheduled to land in Cedar Key for lunch on Feb. 12, but the plane never landed, prompting a 50-hour search led by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The body of Jerrel’s father, 65-year-old Jasper Jerrel, was found three days after his plane took off from Brooksville, Florida, and was later reported missing.

On Sunday, officials found the body of Jasper Jerrel’s fiance, Hue Singletary, along with the plane itself, which was mangled, said Lt. Scott Tummond, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office.

Dangerous weather prevented further search for Jerrel on Wednesday and today, Tummond said, but the search will resume Friday. Tummond added that the sheriff’s office doesn’t plan on stopping until the teenager is found.

“We were involved from the very beginning in the search process,” Tummond said. “Friday, we are planning to search again.”

Jasper Jerrels’ cousin Judy Bason said she saw the plane when it was pulled from the water Monday.

“They brought it up on a clam boat,” she said. “The plane — there wasn’t much to it.”

Bason said Jerrels’ family is appreciative of the sheriff's office for its continuous search for Dylan.

“We’re very hopeful,” she said. “He could be up on the shoreline somewhere. They are still looking.”

Contact Molly Vossler at mvossler@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @molly_vossler 

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