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Police: Missing Jones Beach Swimmer Found Alive In Florida

WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A missing Massapequa man who was presumed drowned will meet with authorities after being found alive and well in Florida.

Raymond Roth, 47, had been missing since the weekend, but his brother contacted authorities on Wednesday and informed them that Roth was alive and well in Florida.

Roth's 22-year-old son told authorities that he saw his father go into the waters off Jones Beach around 3:30 p.m. Saturday near Field 6, but never saw him get out.

Roth was still making his way back to Long Island by car Thursday night to answer what will likely be tough questions, including whether his disappearance was part of some family plot.

1010 WINS' Al Jones Reports


Now police believe that story to be false, State Park Police Capt. Bruce Marx told 1010 WINS.

"We believe the father was with his son, so we don't know if the son knowingly reported him missing or not at this point," Marx said.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall On The Story


Police don't know if Roth was ever at Field 6 on Saturday. They had interviewed people that were at the beach on Saturday and no one remembered seeing Roth, Marx said.

Roth's disappearance set off a massive search. For days, police and the Coast Guard searched the area by air, sea and beach patrols to no avail.

The cost of the search is still being calculated, but it expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. It seems the entire effort was all a waste of time, money and resources.

Meanwhile, Roth was pulled over for speeding at 3:30 a.m. Thursday in Santee, S.C., as he was making his way back to New York, police said. He was allegedly driving 90 mph. Police are now trying to determine whether Roth tried to fake his own death, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

Sources told CBS 2 Roth recently lost his job after threatening his co-workers. His Massapequa house was also put up for sale last week.  His wife, who was reached by telephone, simply said "It's a very distraught time."

"The detectives right now are speaking to the district attorney's office and family members and trying to put the story together," Marx told WCBS 880's Hall.

Some neighbors said they are not surprised by the saga.

"When I found out he was an avid swimmer and I found out they couldn't find him, it just didn't seem right," Jim Stone said.

And others said they thought it was odd the family appeared unemotional and mentioned a life insurance policy. However, some were convinced Roth had drowned.

"I thought he had a heart attack. He's was heavy, he smoked," neighbor Ron Christian said.

Lifeguards who frantically searched for him were relieved there was no drowning on their watch, but said they ultimately risked their lives for no good reason.

"It's not an easy decision, to pull everyone out the water and then to pull all the guards off beaches. We put them in the water for an hour and a half. They were shaken when they came out," said Capt. Ed Peters, a lifeguard at Field 6.

Roth has not been arrested, but criminal charges could result from any false statement to police or fraud. Police are not yet labeling the situation a hoax nor are they saying Roth faked his own death.

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