Search suspended for missing teen

July 19, 2008 7:38:11 PM PDT
The Coast Guard called off a search for a vanished teenage swimmer Saturday after finding no sign of her in more than a day of scouring miles of the Atlantic Ocean, but police said they would continue looking. The search was suspended around 8:10 p.m., with no plans to resume it unless new information emerged, Petty Officer 3rd Class Barbara Patton said.

The New York Police Department said it planned to continue its search Sunday, however.

The 16-year-old girl was apparently swept away by a strong current while swimming with friends near Rockaway Park beach Friday afternoon. Another teenager was rescued from the water and is hospitalized in stable condition.

The search has involved police, firefighters, the Coast Guard and a more than 5-mile-wide stretch of sea. One Coast Guard vessel searched overnight from Friday to Saturday.

"We hate to give up searching, so we try to exhaust every avenue we can until we have to decide chances are slim we'll find somebody," Coast Guard Cmdr. Greg Hitchen told WCBS-TV Saturday before the agency's search was suspended.

The missing girl's mother, Tekhia Williams, was at work when her daughter went to the beach on a sweltering summer day. She told the television station she hadn't slept or eaten since her daughter's disappearance.

"The only peace I can have - I need to touch and feel my daughter, and I need to know where she is, and I don't know," she said.