Michael Madoff: 'They've Been Trying, I Guess, To Do Damage Control'

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a warning Wednesday for all parents from a New York couple having to come to terms with possibly never seeing their son again.

The teen was on a retreat with friends in Hawaii when a wave overcame him while hiking, and he’s now believed to be lost at sea, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

Back home from a grim trip to Hawaii where their son drowned last week during a teen adventure tour, Michael and Marrianne Madoff were trying to process the unthinkable.

“He’s truly going to be missed. He took up a lot of space and he’s going to be a big void, but we have two beautiful children that we need to keep going for,” Marrianne Madoff said.

Tyler Madoff, 15, was a bright, athletic kid and a strong swimmer who was excited to be on the Hawaii adventure organized by a company called Bold Earth Expeditions. His father said the tour leader was wrong to hike in the area where his son died after a local guide allegedly warned him not to.

“No way those teens should have been on shoreline at that time of day. There was a high surf advisory. Either he didn’t know about that or he did know. Either way, our boy’s not coming back,” Michael Madoff said.

In addition to their grief the parents are torn by conflicting rip currents of emotion-gratitude and anger. They’re grateful for the rescuers who tried to find their son in the Hawaii surf and angry at the tour operators who they describe as unsympathetic and evasive during their visit.

“They’ve been trying, I guess, to do damage control,” Michael Madoff said. “Neither Abbott Wallace or Andy Mork remembered to express their condolences. Neither one of them expressed sorrow for our loss. This seems to be a big disruption to their business.”

The Madoffs said they may hire a lawyer to sue the tour company, but vowed to keep none of the money for themselves if they win.

“We are here to help other parents that they never go through this. That’s the most important thing that this not be in vain,” Marrianne Madoff said.

In a statement from Hawaii, the company’s owner said his people did the best they could under difficult circumstances.

Tyler Madoff’s body has not yet been recovered. His parents said they will nonetheless soon hold a memorial service.

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