Search suspended for missing kayaker last seen near South Deer Island

GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) -- Wet, cold, and heartbroken. That was the mood among family and friends of missing kayaker Alex Gallant.

On Monday, officials suspended the search for Gallant, 23, after a tough day on the Intercoastal waterways. The Coast Guard says they've exhausted their efforts while Gallant's family will resume their search Tuesday morning.

"We've been going to islands, combing beaches. We've found the rafts, the paddles, the boots, we've been in those areas where everything drifted to," said Glen Gallant, Alex's father.

Still, there were no signs of the kayaker.

On Saturday, Alex Gallant and his childhood friend Brandon Curacas,21, left their homes to go fishing in Galveston Bay, something they do every weekend. Gallant, the father of a four-month-old baby boy, fished so often that his wife Brandi thought nothing of this most recent weekend trip.

"They go fishing all the time, that's why I wasn't worried," said Brandi, who was taking care of the couple's son when the phone rang and she was told something went wrong.

The friends apparently fished with their life vests tied to their kayaks, not wearing them. The water temperature was 53 degrees. When the water got choppy and the kayaks flipped, only Curacas managed to grab on to a nearby buoy. He was rescued hours later. Gallant was last seen drifting away, holding onto an overturned kayak.

"They went kayaking three miles out, fishing, in a very small kayak on a choppy day; they shouldn't been out there," said the elder Gallant.

Glen Gallant described his son as an average swimmer, who usually fishes on shore.

Both kayaks have been located. The life vests are still attached to the kayaks. Despite a full Coast Guard search and a lot of volunteers over the past two days, there are still no signs of Gallant.

"I love my son so much, he was my only baby boy," said Gallant's mom Rhonda Stallbaumer.

Gallant's mom and his wife remain hopeful, though Glen Gallant just doesn't see how this can have a happy ending.

"If he was alive, we would have already found him."
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