Search continues for missing fisherman at Lake Mendocino

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Authorities’ search continued Friday for a Laytonville man who went missing earlier this week during a fishing trip at Lake Mendocino with his father whose body was found floating near their boat the same day of younger man’s disappearance.

Authorities have narrowed their search for Vincent Soto, 40, to the lake’s waters, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten said, adding a ground search of the area turned up with no signs of Soto.

Deputies learned he was missing after another boater found the body of his father, Carlos Soto, 62, also of Laytonville, floating in the water at the south end of the lake Tuesday evening.

Relatives reported the two had planned a day of fishing on the lake, and both could swim. Their wallets, along with the younger Soto’s cellphone, were in their boat, the Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities noted no sign of foul play after recovering the body of Carlos Soto.

“At this point, we have every reason to believe he is in the water,” Van Patten said of Vincent Soto. “The family has told us that they both went on this trip together ... and his personal effects were in (the boat).”

Crews on four boats, one from the Sheriff’s Office, a barge from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and two vessels from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, were continuing the search Friday, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney said. Each are equipped with side-scan sonars, which create 3D images of the lake’s floor.

The information is then used by the county’s Search and Rescue dive team, who will explore the murky waters to look for signs of the missing man, Van Patten said. On Thursday, a veteran diver on the team was sent to a hospital by ambulance after experiencing a medical emergency while surfacing from at 60-foot dive, his first for the day, Van Patten said. He appeared to be in good condition after his arrival to the hospital, Van Patten said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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