Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard went missing yesterday when he was caught in a riptide at Venice Beach. Reports circulated later that the search was called off, and this morning, TMZ provided an update from the Coast Guard confirming that is the case. In TMZ’s words:
The search to find Shad Gaspard has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard tells us.
We know there was at least one boat still searching for Gaspard on Tuesday morning … but it’s become clear the chances of finding the ex-WWE star are fading fast.
We’re told the case will not be closed until officials find the missing person — but for now, the efforts have been drastically scaled back.
Gaspard, who had worked as a stuntman, actor, and writer post-WWE and sometimes performed on the independent wrestling scene, was last seen as part of a group of swimmers at the recently-reopened Venice Beach who were caught in a riptide. Gaspard reportedly directed lifeguards to save his son first, then was submerged under a wave later in the rescue effort.
Gaspard’s family hasn’t spoken to the media about his disappearance, but has released a statement through the social media accounts of several wrestlers who knew him, saying, “@Shadbeast‘s family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal. At this time they are not ready to make any public or official statements to any media outlet and ask all to respect their wishes.”