San Diego resident last seen swimming to boat in choppy seas found dead off coast of Tijuana

The body of a 27-year-old San Diego resident who went missing over the weekend was found Tuesday off the coast of Tijuana, according to Mexican officials and family members.

Víctor Oswaldo Villarreal was last seen Friday swimming toward a sailboat he had rented from the United States to spend the day with his family in the beachfront Real Mediterraneo neighborhood of Tijuana.

He intended to return in a canoe, but when it malfunctioned, Villarreal decided to try swimming, officials said. At that time, it was high tide and the seas were rough, with the area on alert for a coming storm, said Juan Hernández, chief of the water rescue division of the Fire Department. Tijuana.

Rubén Ramos Jiménez, Tijuana regional prosecutor, confirmed that the body was found in Punta Bandera and that a family member at the scene recognized Villarreal by his tattoos.

He added that although the man likely drowned, investigators are still awaiting autopsy results.

Tijuana Assemblyman Sammy Peña, Villarreal’s uncle, thanked all the agencies and community members who helped during the search. “We have received a lot of support and I am very grateful,” he said.

Peña described his nephew as “a cool kid – an athlete, a surfer and a swimmer.”

Firefighters from Tijuana and Rosarito, as well as civil protection, the attorney general’s office, the Mexican navy and about 20 volunteers participated in the search that lasted three days, officials said.

On social media, Villarreal’s family asked for drones and jet skis to help with the search on both sides of the border.

California Daily Newspapers

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