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Body Found, As Search Is Called Off For Missing Plane Near Cedar Key

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The U.S. Coast Guard has called off its search for a small plane that was reported missing Sunday after it failed to land at its Cedar Key destination.

Search crews found one body about six miles southwest of Cedar Key, which has not yet been identified.

According to the USCG, 65-year-old Jasper Jerrels took off from Brooksville at 10:30 a.m. and was last detected on radar at 11:06 a.m., approximately 7 miles south of Cedar Key.

Jerrels was flying the single-engine Cherokee Piper plane and was accompanied by his 60-year-old girlfriend, Hue Singletary, and his 17-year-old son, Jasper Jerrels. The group planned to meet Jerrels’ sister for lunch but never made it.

Jerrels’ cousin Judy Bason said the family immediately knew something was wrong when the 20-year pilot failed to call to let them know he’d be late.

“His sister kept trying to call and text. I kept trying to call and text, and we knew if he had went to Crystal River and stopped, if he had went anywhere and stopped, he would have called,” Bason said. “We know it, so we were worried pretty much from the get go.”

According to Bason, a seat cushion has been found, but there have not been any updates regarding the whereabouts of the three missing people. She said on Tuesday that the family was heading to Brooksville to meet with the Coast Guard and remained hopeful that the three would be found.

Just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Coast Guard announced it would conclude the search at sunset.

“It is with a heavy heart and our deepest condolences that we make the decision to suspend the search this evening,” said Capt. Holly Najarian, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander. “We keep the family and friends of these three individuals in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”

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