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Coast Guard search for abducted boy is successful

December 2, 2009
By BOB PETCHER,rpetcher@breezenewspapers

A massive search since Saturday for a sailboat carrying a Palm Bay man and his son he is accused of abducting is over. The boy was rescued by a St. Petersburg Coast Guard Cutter and transported to the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard station. His father, aboard another cutter from Key West, was brought to the same station hours later.

According to Petty Officer and Public Affairs Specialist Leary, small boats from both the Coast Guard Cutter "Crocodile" and Coast Guard Cutter "Kodiac Island" intercepted the 32-foot sailboat carrying Paul Martikainen and his 3-year-old son, Luke Finch, after an all-night aircraft surveillance.

"The Coast Guard's C130 aircraft out of Air Station Clearwater spotted the vessel (Monday) at about 5 p.m," she said. "The plane continued to keep surveillance on the sailboat overnight. At first light this morning, a boarding team from Coast Guard Cutters "Kodiac Island" and "Crocodile" launched small boats and rescued the boy safely from the sailboat (Tuesday morning.)

Leary, who is from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, said the sailboat was found approximately 140 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach. The rescue cutter was scheduled to pull into the FMB Coast Guard Station between 7-8 p.m. Tuesday.

"The little boy that was rescued was on the Coast Guard Cutter "Crocodile," said Leary. "The plan is that he will be taken to the station and re-united with his mother there."

Martikainen will be taken into FBI custody once on Fort Myers Beach.

The search has been going on since Saturday when witnesses reported seeing Martikainen and his son get in a 32-foot sailboat at a St. Petersburg marina. A missing child alert was issued for the boy, whom Martikainen is accused of taking during a supervised visit.



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