Search for Ocean Springs officer enters its third day

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) - The desperate search to find Stephen Bond has dragged into a third evening.  However, with every passing hour, authorities realize the likelihood of finding the Ocean Springs officer alive greatly diminishes.

Stephen Bond was tossed into the Mississippi Sound around 4:30 Sunday afternoon.  His friends said he held onto the side of a capsized boat for awhile.  But as they drifted away, Bond disappeared.

On Tuesday, dozens of officers from all over the region once again scoured the Mississippi Sound and the barrier islands, desperately looking for the missing Ocean Springs police officer.

"Manpower is not an issue," an Ocean Springs officer said in the city's command center.

The focal point of the search and rescue operation is inside the Ocean Springs Police Department.  The conference room is where the location of every search boat, every helicopter and every officer looking for Stephen Bond is radioed in, and then plotted on a Google Earth map.

Mike Sweeney is a captain with the Ocean Springs Police Department.  He's assigned to the command center.  His role is to coordinate where the different helicopters and rescue boats go.

"Just about every agency from Mobile to Louisiana is represented," he said.

DMR officers contacted the command post late in the morning with troubling information.  Searching for Bond was becoming even more difficult.

"There's a DMR unit that just reported 10 foot seas and he was on the way out to Cat Island," said Cal Robertson, another Ocean Springs police officer in the command center.

Despite that report, the officers in this room remain optimistic that Bond will be found.

"There's always hope," said Sweeney.  "We're hoping that he's laid up on an island somewhere, that he's out of the water and dry.  That's our best hope at this point."

Down at the Ocean Springs Harbor, city patrolmen spent their lunch breaks with Jackson County deputies. The law enforcement fraternity wanted to be together, just in case news came in about Officer Bond's whereabouts.

Curtis Spiers described the mood as "Somber, concerned, and hopeful."

Spiers was part of Monday's search and rescue mission.  He sat out the Tuesday search, and let his narcotics team comb the waters, and desperately look for Officer Bond.

"At this point, it's a waiting game," he said.  "We're hoping for the best, preparing for whatever may come."

Stephen Bond is 32-years-old.  He has a wife and two children.  And he's been with the Ocean Springs Police Department since last year.

On Tuesday, some of his family members reportedly boarded a boat and joined the search, hoping their assistance would lead to his rescue.

A day earlier, authorities found the other four people who were on board the 21 foot boat when it capsized in bad weather.  Survivors Mike Green, Becky Welch, Jonathan Navas and Whitney Navas were all taken to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.  Late Tuesday afternoon, they were listed in good condition.  And they were all getting ready to go home.

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