LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. – The search for an Iraq war veteran who went missing in Lake Isabella on father’s day is now over.
Authorities have confirmed, the body found today is that of Michael May.
The Bakersfield father was kayaking in the lake when his kayak flipped over and he disappeared.
May was spending Father’s Day like every year, having fun with loved ones, telling stories about his military life and laughing; and that’s exactly how the family says they want to always remember him.
Days after May went missing at Lake Isabella, Kern County Sheriff’s say Search & Rescue teams have positively identified his body.
“It’s been pretty rough on them and it hasn’t hit me until today,” said cousin, Adrian Hernandez.
The body was discovered by a helicopter. Authorities say it was floating near Paradise Cove.
“He was not wearing a floating device at the time, which would of probably significantly increased his chances of surviving in whatever caused the original capsize of the kayak he was in,” said Dennis Smithson, who is part of the rescue team.
Rescue workers say if may was wearing a life jacket, it would have also made it easier and a lot faster for teams to locate him.
“I’m doing better now that we found him. We have closure and I think that’s the best thing that anyone can have when someone has either went missing or has drowned,” said cousin, Veronica Hernandez.
Loved ones say the family owned property near the lake and that is a spot may wanted to spend Father’s Day.
“Michael was a pretty good guy. He was the most patriotic guy you would ever meet. He loved being in the marine corp. and in the army,” said cousin, Jared Harp.
The family gathered near the site where rescue teams discovered his body. They say now that they have closure it’s time to focus on being strong for May’s children.
“It will take time to recover, but we’ll be alright with the memory of him. He was such a good guy,” he said.
Loved ones say May was still on active duty.