Coast Guard ends search for missing boaters; family depending on civilians

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PORT SHELDON, Mich. -- The Coast Guard's search for two missing boaters was called off late Thursday afternoon.

Aaron Juarez, 40, and Chris Thode, 25, were last heard from Friday. Authorities said they went fishing Saturday on Pigeon Lake (which connects to Lake Michigan).

They were reported missing on Wednesday, and that's when the Coast Guard started its search. Juarez's SUV and boat trailer are still at the boat launch.

"Since receiving the notification of the missing boaters, the Coast Guard has conducted a total of 23 searches, covering a total of nearly 3,800 square miles of lake Michigan," said Justin Olson, the senior chief for the Grand Haven Coast Guard.

He said if something is found in connection to the missing men, then the search will resume.

"I came into this thinking, I'm going to be a hero. I'm going to charter a flight. I'm going to find my brother, but we can't do what law enforcement and Coast Guard has done here,' said Renee Palermo, Juarez's sister.

The family commended the Coast Guard and all involved law enforcement agencies for their efforts.

Both families gathered at the boat launch o Thursday evening for a vigil. The family told FOX 17 its now depending on civilians on the water to keep an eye out for their loved ones.

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