Luciano Mercenari, 29, missing after going paddleboarding in Key Biscayne, is seen in this undated photograph. (KBI via Key Biscayne Police Dept)
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An intense search involving helicopters and boats took place Tuesday for a 29-year-old Key Biscayne resident who was last seen leaving a home on his way to paddleboard near Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. So far, searchers have found nothing.

Key Biscayne Police Chief Frank Sousa said thunderstorms forced search efforts to pause late Tuesday but they will resume at dawn Wednesday.

“We just need to hold on to hope at this point and hope for the best, ” Sousa said Tuesday night, saying he has kept the family updated.

Police said home security camera footage showed Luciano Mercenari heading toward the waterway at about 5 p.m on Monday. He reportedly was going spearfishing on a Niphean paddle board, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Mercenari wore a light-gray, long-sleeved shirt and gray sports shorts, according to a missing flier posted by the Coast Guard on X, formerly Twitter. He has short cut, dark-brown hair and a short shave.

Miami Dade Police, Coral Gables Police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are also taking part in the search. 

“We are asking anyone for information regarding his whereabouts or information on the paddleboard to please contact Key Biscayne Police,” said Key Biscayne Police Chief Frank Sousa. “If any homeowner or resident of Key Biscayne has surveillance footage, we kindly ask they contact our investigations team.”

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After speaking with Sousa, Key Biscayne Mayor Joe Rasco said that: “The situation hasn’t gotten any better.”

“There are a slew of volunteers on paddleboards looking, so far, no luck,” Rasco said. “We need to continue to hope and pray that Luciano can be found.”

This story has been updated with the search being paused Tuesday night.

BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for America


Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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