Authorities continued to search for an Oceanside man who went missing on Memorial Day after diving off La Jolla Shores. Family friends of Jeffrey May, 45, spoke out on Wednesday about the search and issued a statement from his family.
May reportedly met up at La Jolla Shores on Monday morning, telling his wife he planned to meet with a diving group, city of San Diego lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan said. About an hour later, May called his spouse and said he arrived at the Shores, but could not find the others he had planned to dive with.
After May failed to return home or contact his wife again, she reported him missing at about 8 p.m., Buchanan said.
Roger Bray, a friend of May, speculates that his friend, who had not been diving in more than a year, tried to catch up with that group.
“Because he did not have any dive partners currently and had not done it in a while, he sought some out online,” he said. “He came down to meet up with that group.”
May's car was found in a parking lot in the area, and a plastic tub holding his car keys, sunglasses and clothing was located in a grassy area alongside the beach.
May had rented a scuba tank and some diving weights at a nearby dive shop, but authorities could find no one who saw him entering the water.
Lifeguards spent several hours Monday night searching from aboard boats and on shore vehicles, aided by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, before suspending the operation about 11:30 p.m., Buchanan said. Efforts continued on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Almost three-dozen divers from the San Diego Police Department and lifeguard agencies along the coast took part, along with the federal maritime agency's airborne personnel and the San Diego Harbor Police in the search.
The search turned up no sign of May, with the possible exception of a diving mask that could have belonged to him.
Murky water conditions were making the job more challenging, Buchanan said.
“We can't see very much, which makes it that much more difficult,” he said Tuesday.
Bray said May was a dear friend, who took care of his customers at work and loved his family very much.
“He was the kind of person that would do anything for you,” he said. “He would always greet you with a big smile. There was no way to be down when you were around Jeff.”
Bray’s wife Debi said the family is overwhelmed by the community support.
“They are overwhelmed by the community support and, of course, grieving right now. And waiting. Waiting to hear something,” said Debi Bray.
May’s wife issued the following statement on Wednesday:
On behalf of the May family and their friends, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the local agencies involved in the search for Jeff. The tireless efforts of the Coast Guard, lifeguards, Harbor police, law-enforcement and volunteer divers are greatly appreciated. The family is also overwhelmed with the outpouring of concern and support from the San Diego community. Obviously, these are difficult times for the family and friends of Jeff, but we hold out faith that he will be found. We ask anyone that might have any information about Jeff or might have seen him on Monday morning prior to the dive to please contact local law enforcement. Thank you again to everyone involved in the search for Jeff. We ask that the community continues to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers. Thank you.
City News Service contributed to this report.