A Life Lost on the Apalachicola River

By: Paul Matadeen
By: Paul Matadeen

It has been almost a day, now, since friends, family, and police began looking for 71-year-old Dennis Martina.

Martina went missing after taking his boat out to check his crab traps, a routine he has had for most of his life.

Hope turned to hurt Tuesday night, as his wife of 38 years came to the realization her husband will never be coming home.

A night of searching turned to a day of hope. Hope that 71-year-old Dennis Martina was somewhere out there, waiting to be rescued, waiting to go home.

"You just wait and pray. That’s it. You just wait and pray to want him to come back to you. You just wait and pray," says Janice Martina.

However, by afternoon, waiting turned to rushing, as word of Martina's death caused his wife to rush from home to the dock where she had hoped she would see her husband, rescued from the river's reach.

"We found the boat,” said Franklin County Sheriff Mike Mock. “I don't know the exact location because it was out on the river's bank. I spoke to Dennis' family just moments ago; they say police found him just a few minutes by boat from here.”

Dennis Martina’s family says it's comforting that he passed away doing something that he loved. This discovery has left many remembering his legacy and his love for his trade.

"With this family, they fish, they hunt, that's what's their livelihood," said Sheriff Mock.

Police say they believe Dennis Martina died of natural causes, but they'll conduct an official investigation in the coming days, to know for sure.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office, the Coast Guard and more than 100 friends and family members helped in the search for Martina.


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