Family of 3 missing Brunswick boaters hires private crews to pick up where the Coast Guard left off

The family of three missing Georgia fishermen are continuing their search a little over a week after the Coast Guard stopped.

They’ve hired private crews to pick up where the Coast Guard left off.

The three missing men — Tyler Barlow, Caleb Wilkinson and Dalton Conway — left Brunswick, Georgia on Oct. 14 for a fishing trip and were scheduled to return on Oct. 18, but they disappeared.

The Coast Guard’s search for them spanned 94,000 square miles and four states.

News4JAX spoke with family members of Dalton Conway and Tyler Barlow. They said each time a plane flies out or a boat is in the water looking for their loved ones, it gives them hope. Hope that those three men will be found and soon be back home.

Kim Jones is raising money to find her son Tyler Barlow. Jones said things became more stressful when the Coast Guard suspended their search for the three last Thursday.

“So we took it into our own hands and have had to pull in resources like the United States Cajun Navy, Deemi Research,” Jones said.

Also helping with the search is Airtec, a company that has a fleet of planes that could be used for searching.

“I’m doing the best I can,” Stevie Conway, the sister of Dalton and the partner of Wilkinson, said.

She and Wilkinson are expecting a child together. She’s four months pregnant.

Stevie said since the families have started their private search, a few plane trips have been made.

They even pay for photographers to fly in the planes to capture images of anything that is below like debris.

News4JAX asked Conway, “When you get notification from people who are searching that they have found some debris out there. How does that make you feel?”

“Almost a little hopeful, you know, and there’s so many different emotions that go with it from hopeful to sad to you know, back to it’s just a bunch of it’s a literally a roller coaster of emotions,” Conway said.

The two said their private search has gone from Maine to Florida with boaters helping as well. All with the hopes that someone will spot something and bring these three home.

“They are hardy,” Jones said. “These boys know how to survive.”

The two said more searches are planned. They also will be lighting up downtown St. Mary’s Saturday at 6 p.m. so all supporters can be in one area and support one another.

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