Family, friends grateful for rescue, still praying for officer's safe return

Stephen Bond (Photo courtesy Ocean Springs Police Dept.)
Stephen Bond (Photo courtesy Ocean Springs Police Dept.)

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - As you might imagine, the families of all five boaters have been on an emotional roller coaster since the group went missing Sunday night.

When they heard about the boat mishap, family members obviously feared the worst. Then, they were filled with joy when survivors were found. However, that joy was tempered just a bit with the news that one officer was still in the water.

"They found my son. They found my son and his girlfriend alive. I am so thankful. I just want to thank everybody for their prayers," Betty Green said.

Betty's son is officer Mike Green. His girlfriend is Becky Welch. Both were plucked out of the water Monday by a Coast Guard helicopter. So was officer Jonathan Navas and his wife, Whitney.

Lillian Bodisch is friends wih one of the survivors.

"When we heard that they found the first two, it was just people screaming and yelling. They were so overjoyed, even though they didn't know who it was. They were just happy that someone was found," Bodisch said.

The prayers of most of the family members who gathered at the Ocean Springs Police Station had been answered.

Julio Navas's brother was among those rescued. When asked if he thought his sibling would make it back to shore, Julio said, "In my heart, I had a feeling yes. But then, I had a feeling no."

"I had confidence we were going to find our people. And I still have confidence we'll find the last one," Ocean Springs Police Lt. Steve Futral said.

The last one is Ocean Springs officer Stephen Bond. Beore joining the city's police force, Bond worked at the Jackson County jail. The Marine was trained there by Jackson County Deputy Donnie Moore, Junior.

"It's just like missing a family member. It's tough," Moore said.

"Just hope and pray for the best. It's kind of numbing right now," said Steve Kelley with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. "We don't know. Just not knowing, it will eat you up. And we're just hoping for the best."

The Coast Guard's plan is to continue searching for Stephen Bond throughout the night. There are 16 different helicopters and rescue boats searching the waters between Horn Island and Ship Island.

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