BARBADOS (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey couple has gone missing while on vacation in Barbados.
Investigators say they took some personal watercraft out for the day and never came back. Now, family members are on their way to the Caribbean island to search for answers.
Police say Oscar Suarez, 32, and Magdalena Devil, 25, had been staying at the Discovery Bay Hotel in St. James.
“It didn’t feel real. I had a hard time processing it. Just kind of felt like a bad dream,” said Renaldo Huaman, Suarez’s cousin.
At 2:34 p.m. Monday they rented a Jet Ski at nearby Holetown Beach and haven’t been seen since going out to sea, according to the Royal Barbados Police Force. The couple were just three days into their vacation.
“It really hit me hard because it’s something you don’t expect to experience firsthand,” Huaman said.
Suarez’s cousin told CBS2’s Nina Kapur the couple landed on Saturday. They were wearing life jackets when they rented the Jet Ski Monday afternoon and headed out to sea. About 20 minutes later, the search began.
“The kids have been wondering, my daughter’s crying. I just keep saying he has no service so we have to wait for him to have service to call,” said Kathy Ortiz, who is the mother of Suarez’s children.
She told Kapur he’s never gone this long without speaking to his kids.
“I called that nigh. Nothing. I text, my text messages didn’t even get delivered,” Ortiz said.
Meanwhile, the Royal Barbados Police Force turned to social media for help and to detail their search.
So far, they’ve been unable to locate either the couple or the Jet Ski.
Those who knew the couple best say they’re adventurous, family oriented, loving and always excited to travel. The family is still in disbelief that this could happen to them, Kapur reporte.d
“The family has been devastated honestly. We’ve been supporting each other, trying to be strong. Trying to do everything in our to really expedite and try to bring awareness to get them home,” Huaman said.
A GoFundMe has been set up, with a goal of $30,000 to fund Suarez’s mom and sister’s flight to the island nation and to hopefully bring everyone home safely.
Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to call the Holetown Police Station at 1-264-419-1700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIPS (8477).