Family and friends hold vigil for missing swimmer - - The News for South Mississippi

Family and friends hold vigil for missing swimmer

Edward Bailey (Photo source: The Bailey Family) Edward Bailey (Photo source: The Bailey Family)

By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The search for Edward Bailey is a large operation.  Boats patrolled the waters Monday as divers prepared to join the search under the waters of Biloxi's Back Bay. 

Friends and family members kept a lonely vigil on the shoreline, pacing nervously.  Alice Bailey, the victim's mother, said she's looking for intervention from above. 

"I'm praying that he's still alive," Bailey said.  "Everybody praying and we're just praying and leaning on God for strength that he's still alive." 

What happened Sunday night near Grasshopper Island is hard to say.  But friends on the boat told police Edwards jumped into the water.

"I believe that a swimmer had even swum over towards him when he was waving his arms in the water, and at that point they said that he submerged and they didn't see him again," said Sgt. Michael Brumley with the Biloxi Police Department. 

Throughout the morning and afternoon, the family kept vigil.  They were surrounded by friends, which are badly needed in a time like this.

Shelly Distefano is a family friend.

"His mother is one of my best friends, we've been friends for a very long time, we've gone through everything together, Katrina, everything else.  We're just like sisters."

In talking with family and friends about Edward, one thing stood out.  He loved computers, he was very tech savvy, and he would be willing to help anybody. 

Gerald Thompson is another friend of the family.  

"He had a real knack computers and things like that, technology," Thompson said.  "He was real educated, as far as things of that nature.  He was real educated."

And Edward wanted even more education.  He was one semester short of earning a bachelors degree in marketing from the University of South Alabama.   

Searchers admit now that after 24 hours, the chances of finding Edward alive are slim.  Therefore, the search is now being called a recovery operation.

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