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ERIE COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
After nearly three weeks
of searching, the recovery effort for a father and daughter who went missing
while kayaking is over.
Two bodies believed to be
12-year-old Viola Francis and her father Jonathon were found Friday.
Those close to the family
say they were hopeful that somehow the two would be found alive and well.
Unfortunately, Friday's news broke their hearts.
"I can't wait until I get
old, because I'll die and I'll be with her," said Viola's half-sister Taylor
All Snyder wants is to be
with her sister again.
"Me and Viola, we were a
good match – to be sister and sister," she said.
About three weeks
ago, Viola and 30-year-old Jonathon Francis went kayaking in the Sandusky Bay. The
United States Coast Guard says a fisherman spotted Viola about eight miles off
the coast of Vermilion around 11 a.m. Friday. The second body was spotted along
a break wall just south of Cedar Point around 2:15 p.m.
The Sheriff's Office says
jewelry and distinct tattoos lead them to tentatively identify the two bodies
as Viola and Jonathan.
"I'm still just shocked,"
said Viola's stepfather Timothy Snyder. "I mean, you know, we hoped for the
best – we hoped, hoped and hoped. It didn't turn out the way we had hoped it
Snyder describes Viola as
a happy girl. She always had a smile on her face and she loved to be outdoors.
He says Jonathon made sure she spent time doing what she loved most.
"He was a good dad,"
Snyder said. "He always took Viola out to do stuff – whether it be kayaking or
fishing or…he did a lot of stuff with her, he was a good dad. He was a good
The bodies found are
believed to be those of Jonathon and Viola, but an official identification will
come after autopsies are performed.
A memorial fund has been
set up for Viola. Those wishing to donate can do so at any Fifth Third bank.