Tragedy Strikes: Investigation Launched after Two Found Dead on Ward Lake

The serene waters of Ward Lake in Manatee County turned into a scene of heartbreak recently, leaving a community in shock and authorities working to unravel the tragedy. In this piece, we delve into the details surrounding the devastating loss of two lives: Wayne Raber and his young son Josiah Raber, both from Wilmot, Ohio.

Unraveling the Incident: A Single-Vessel Boating Mishap

The incident unfolded when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to a distress call concerning a single-vessel boating mishap on a fateful Saturday. Upon arrival, authorities were met with a devastating sight: one individual was found deceased in the water near the vessel.

A Grim Discovery: Second Fatality Uncovered

The sorrow deepened as FWC continued their investigation, uncovering another tragic loss in the same area where the first victim was found. The victims, Wayne Raber, aged 36, and his 4-year-old son Josiah Raber, cast a shadow of grief over Ward Lake and beyond.

The Investigation: Seeking Answers Amidst Sorrow

As the investigation unfolds, FWC diligently pursues answers. While the circumstances surrounding the incident are still emerging, authorities reassure the public that every effort is being made to shed light on the events of that tragic day.

Extending Compassion: Grace Church Steps In

In the aftermath of this heartbreaking event, the community has rallied to support the grieving family. Grace Church in Millersburg, Ohio, took to social media to honor Josiah and Wayne, offering condolences and solidarity to their loved ones.

Offering Assistance: Extending a Helping Hand

Moved by the Raber family’s plight, Grace Church has initiated efforts to ease their burden. Donations are being collected at a local bank branch to aid with the expenses incurred during this difficult time. This compassionate gesture underscores the unity and empathy that define communities in times of hardship.


The tragic loss of Wayne and Josiah Raber serves as a poignant reminder of life’s fragility and the importance of cherishing every moment with loved ones. As the investigation into this heartbreaking incident continues, the outpouring of support from communities near and far stands as a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit in times of adversity.

Leave a Comment