Saturday, 15 June 2024

Body found believed to be that of missing man

CLEAR LAKE – The search for a young Windsor man appears to have come to an end, with the Thursday discovery of a body along the lake's shoreline not far from where he disappeared.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office confirmed shortly before 5 p.m. that a body with physical characteristics matching those of 22-year-old Matthew Zanoni was discovered at 12:25 p.m.

Rescue divers have searched for Zanoni since Saturday evening, when he disappeared over the railing of a pontoon boat moored about 150 yards offshore from Buckingham near Shag Rock, east of Lakeport.

In a twist that deepens the tragedy, Zanoni's father, Mike Zanoni, was with the party that located the body.

A report from Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said that on Thursday Supervisor Rob Brown and Lake County Lakebed Manager Skip Simkins joined the effort to locate Matthew Zanoni's body.

While Marine Patrol deputies searched another area of the shoreline, Brown and Simkins took a boat to a location where Simkins believed that human remains would be likely to surface, based on a description of the search area provided by the Marine Patrol, according to Lt. Brown's report.

On the way, they met Mike Zanoni, Matthew Zanoni's father, in another vessel, Lt. Brown reported.

Together, they went on to the location Simkins wanted to search, where they found the body along the shoreline.

“My dad found my brother,” said Jennifer Zanoni, Matthew Zanoni's sister.

After the body's discovery, Mike Zanoni went to be with his family while Brown and Simkins called the Marine Patrol and helped them recover the body, according to the sheriff's office report.

Lt. Cecil Brown said the sheriff's office can't yet confirm the body is Matt Zanoni's. That, he said, must wait for the results of a coroner's investigation, which will positively identify the man and the cause of his death.

However, Brown added, “Based on the location of the recovery and the physical characteristics of the deceased man, we believe it is likely that it is the body of Matthew Zanoni that was found today.”

He said an autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Zanoni and the group of people on the boat were visiting the county to attend BoardStock, according to Jennifer Zanoni.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office had issued a Wednesday statement in which it was reported that passengers on the boat said Matthew Zanoni had been drinking alcohol before he went into the water.

However, Jennifer Zanoni said she didn't believe alcohol was an issue, since the information she received in speaking with passengers on the boat was that her brother had only had a few beers.

Jennifer Zanoni, 28, has been highly critical of the local efforts to find her younger brother, which she didn't not feel were aggressive enough. She said she has spoken with an attorney and is trying to have the case turned over to the Sonoma County Coroner's Office.

“I absolutely do not want them involved in the conclusion of this,” she said of the Lake County Sheriff's Office. “I don't want them touching him.”

Sheriff Rod Mitchell said he was grateful to Rob Brown and Skip Simkins for joining in the search, which helped end the family's agonizing wait.

Officials had estimated earlier in the week that it might take weeks more for a body to surface. A drowning victim in that same area in 2004 wasn't discovered until several months later.

Zanoni, who said she called Rob Brown to ask for his help, said she was very grateful to him for his work in the search.

She said finding her brother had eased her family's suffering somewhat. “My dad is confident he's OK now.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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