Missing boater’s family seeks community help to bring loved one home
MARYLAND – “I like to say my father is the closest thing to superman on earth,” son Ernest Sigmon IV said.
Even sometimes superman needs saving. That’s the exact story for 44-year-old Ernest Sigmon III, a seasoned boater who’s now missing. In December, his boat was found in the Chesapeake Bay along with his cell phone. The only thing that couldn’t be found was Ernie.
“There’s six of us brothers and sisters. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to do this without him because he and I were the oldest. We were the ones that kind of kept this group running,” Sigmon’s sister Christina Jones said.
Family members say the first days after his disappearance turned into searches from sun up to sun down, with help from the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard. Now, as they grapple with new information, they realize the possibility of facing the unimaginable.
“We got all the information essentially to at least know the odds are that he didn’t make it to shore, but we were still left with questions as far as what happened and where he is now. We still don’t know,” Ernest IV said.
It’s those answers the Sigmon family wants, along with more resources and a call for help from the public.
“As of today, we do not have a remote operated vehicle for them to search under water. At the time when we started they only had one sonar system, that’s not enough when you have 7,719 miles of shoreline. Let’s just be honest,” Jones said.
Despite the odds, I’m told the community support has been overwhelming with people conducting their own searches or walking the shore line. Now, the focus shifts to supporting Ernie’s kids and getting him home.
“But certainly us as a family we’re gonna make sure every single day that they’re taking care of and they’re comforted in this. The biggest way right now is to bring Ernie home,” Jones said. “Don’t worry, me and Bella are going to be alright. I won’t hesitate to do my best and strive to be my best even more than I’ve done so far. In your name, in honor of you. I want to make you proud,” Ernest IV said.
The family says that social media has been a huge help in their search. They started the Facebook page “Bring Ernie Home” which now has almost 9,000 members.
The Sigmon family is requesting anyone who has information to call the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hotline at 1-800-625-9944.