UPDATE: Search for missing swimmer in South Walton suspended

Searchers continue to look for a swimmer that went missing in the waters off South Walton...
Searchers continue to look for a swimmer that went missing in the waters off South Walton Tuesday night.(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 8, 2016 at 1:59 AM CDT
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UDPATE: 7:40 p.m. June 9, 2016

The search for Leonard Edwards Adams, 35, of Austin, Texas, has been suspended by the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

The search will resume Thursday morning.

Adams was last seen Tuesday night in the gulf behind Whale's Tale in Miramar Beach. One person Adams was with was pulled from the water and died at a local hospital. Another person was able to swim to safety while a third person had to be rescued but wasn't seriously injured.


UPDATE: 3:10 p.m. June 9, 2016

The Walton County Sheriff's Office has released the identity of the swimmer who's still missing in South Walton.

Investigators are still looking for Leonard Edwards Adams, 35, of Austin, Texas. Rasheed Yohance Moses, 36, of Longview, Texas died at Sacred Heart Hospital in Santa Rosa Beach after being pulled from the water Tuesday night. Mark Soule, 35, of Kenner, Louisiana was also pulled from the water and was treated for non-life threatening injuries. The fourth, Harley Smith, 40, of Metairie, Louisiana was able to swim to shore safely.

Bay County Sheriff's Office has provided pilots to fly WCSO Air One to help aid in the search. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has several vessels in the water at this time. WCSO and SWFD have jet skis in the water as well as units on the beach.

We encourage residents and visitors to adhere to the beach flag system and use their best judgement when entering the water. Rip currents are powerful and can be deadly. Four additional swimmers were pulled from the water during search efforts today. All are ok. Remember, knee deep is too deep.


ORIGINAL STORY: 8:58 a.m June 9, 2016

Still no sign of a missing swimmer in the waters off the coast of South Walton.

According to Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, law enforcement is continuing to search for one person they believe may be in the waters behind the Whale's Tale in Miramar Beach.

Walton County Beach Units, the Bay County Sheriff's Office Air Unit, and the U.S Coast Guard were called to the area to help four distressed swimmers in the water behind Whales Tale at 7:40pm Tuesday.

Officials said of the four, two made it to safety with non-life threatening injuries, one was pulled from the water and later died, and one is still unaccounted for.

Bay County Sheriff's Office launched its helicopter to help aid in the search, before more help arrived in from Louisiana.

The Coast Guard deployed several flares.

Adkinson said 12 people were rescued from the water Tuesday after being told multiple times to stay out.

"People underestimate the power and the danger of this water under certain conditions," said Walton County Sheriff, Michael Adkinson. "We knew there were rip tide conditions here, we tried to address that and literally these units had been off the beach a matter of minutes after warning people for hours not to be in the water and you know we had people back in the water."

It's very sad, very sad to me," said Adkinson.

Witnesses said those who made it out alive are lucky.

"I noticed a young man out, obviously caught in the riptide current," said Don Radtke, a witness to the search and rescue, "And by the time I caught up to it he was probably at least 200 yards out, pretty much straight out and obviously he was in distress and at the time the beach patrol and deputies pulled up to help him and the lifeguard was paddling hard to help him on his board."