In May 2008, Brownwood patrolman Dustin Bode was one of two officers who rescued a man from a burning home.
Fifteen months later, Bode, 26, is unable to help another man in peril — his brother-in-law, who disappeared with two other men during a weekend fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.
The trio left Matagorda Bay Friday in a 23-foot catamaran owned by Bode’s brother-in-law, James Phillips, 30, who lives in the Bay City area. Phillips’ wife notified authorities when the boat failed to return as scheduled Saturday afternoon, Bode said.
The Coast Guard has been searching, but has not found any sign of the boat or the men.
Bode’s wife, Christi, is Phillips’ brother.
The boat’s last known location was about 70 miles offshore, where it was seen by crew members from an offshore oil rig Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.
“They haven’t found anything, really,” Bode said Thursday at the Law Enforcement Center. “All we can do is pray at this point. It’s not looking good at all. (Thursday) is the sixth day.”
Bode said his wife is distraught and cries a lot. “It’s bad, bad,” he said. Yeah, it’s hard. We just saw him a couple of weeks ago. He’s a good guy.
“ … The Coast Guard said it’s going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. I have a bad feeling. So does my wife. I hope they’re still alive, even if they’re suffering at this point. I hate that I can’t help at all. I just wish we’d find something out.
Phillips is a father of five, Bode said.
Bode, who has been with the Brownwood Police Department for four years, is the department’s training officer.
Four planes are involved in the search, and Coast Guard cutters are on alert, the Bay City Tribune reported in its online edition Thursday. The search has shifted eastward and the New Orleans Sector of the Coast Guard is now in charge of the operation and will be coordinating the search, the newspaper reported.