WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) - One of two bodies found inside a vehicle submerged in a West Broward retention pond has been identified as a young man who was reported missing on Sunday.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, one of the deceased persons found inside the vehicle was 21-year-old Sebastian Ramos. Ramos was a Florida Gulf Coast University student from Bonita Springs.
On Tuesday, the 2015 silver Mazda 3 was discovered in the water off Alligator Alley at the far west-end of the rest area, near a boat ramp. 7Skyforce HD hovered above the scene as crews pulled one of the bodies from the badly damaged sedan.
“All we know right now is that sometime, maybe during the night, that the vehicle was traveling west, down this ramp, and left the roadway and went into the retention pond,” said FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky. “Both people were pronounced dead at the scene.”
They have not identified the second deceased person, but he is believed to be Ramos’ friend and fellow FGCU student, Josh Lausche, who was also reported missing at the same time as Ramos.
According to police, the families of the two students feared the worst when the two students never returned home from a concert they had attended, Saturday night.
Investigators believe the victims were heading back home to Bonita Springs, early Sunday morning, when, for some reason, they ended up on the rest area off ramp, missing a turn.
“As you can see, the damage on the car, and the car actually went up the incline, so, it actually ended up in the canal,” said Wysocky, “so it would have been a significant impact, just because when it hit the wall, it propelled upward and into the water.”
The families of both men went to Facebook and pleaded for information on their whereabouts after they never came home, to no avail.
Tuesday morning, the Mazda 3 matched the description of a car the two students were last known to be in before they were reported missing.
It is not yet known when the car crashed, when the deaths happened or who found the car.
It is also unclear whether speed or alcohol played a role, but 7News cameras captured a Yuengling beer bottle lodged between the rear driver’s side window and the airbag.
A member Ramos’ family briefly came to the scene, but left abruptly. “It’s absolutely terrible,” said Sarah Hadeka, a friend of the victim. “I mean, I’m really, really gonna miss him.”
Now, Lausche’s family is planning a memorial service, and Ramos’ parents have been posting videos of their son on social media.
In the same area, police were tending to a plane that crashed in the area over the weekend. That activity may have led to the discovery of the car.
Investigators will be testing the victims’ blood alcohol level.
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