Diver found dead in ocean off Boca, Florida

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Posted by on June 26, 2005 at 00:09:26:

Police boat carrying body docks at The Carlton on Boca Inlet; authorities say Pompano man likely was diving alone

A dive charter group found the body of another diver about 70 feet underwater off Boca Raton on Saturday, a police spokesman said.

The body of Jesse Perez, 45, of Pompano Beach, was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean near the 3100 block of S. Ocean Boulevard and reported to police at about 2 p.m, according to Sgt. Robert DeNeve, Boca Raton Police Dept. public information officer.

“It appeared he was (diving) alone,” he said.

A portion of a Boca Inlet dock at The Carlton was cordoned off with crime scene tape as medical examiners and police officers inspected Perez’s body – clad in a wet suit and still wearing a dive mask – aboard a boat moored there. A spear and a set of fins were among the items brought ashore.

“He had drowned in his diving gear,” DeNeve said. He initially said it appeared to be a diving accident; later, he said authorities had no information as to how Perez died but an investigation was underway.

DeNeve said authorities had recovered Perez’ boat anchored near where his body was found.There were indications Perez had been dead long enough for rigor mortis – a stiffening of a body generally occurring within hours after death and lasting at least a day – to occur. Anne Marie Moscarelli, co-owner of Carlton neighbor Ocean Extremes at the Boca Raton Bridge Hotel, said she could see the deceased’s arm sticking up in the air, and Ocean Extremes manager Luke Schrolucke described the limb as “stiff as a board.”

“It’s a crazy sport,” Moscarelli’s husband and Ocean Extremes co-owner Frank Moscarelli said of diving.

“It’s dangerous, period.” said Schrolucke, who said he dives in Boca Inlet using elongated tubes to breathe surface air. “If you don’t listen in class, you’re screwed.”

Frank Moscarelli said he didn’t think the incident would hurt Ocean Extremes’ watercraft rental business. Anne Marie Moscarelli said she initially thought so, but “it’s fine.”

“People are shocked, of course,” she said.

Moscarelli said one man seen riding a jet ski away from their business was hesitant to go out on the water Saturday despite being a regular customer.

“He got a little spooky,” she said.

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