The Los Angeles Police Department is still searching for Shad Gaspard, a former WWE wrestler who went missing Sunday after swimming off the coast near Venice Beach.
Despite a Tuesday report from TMZ that said the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search, an LAPD representative told Fox News hours later that the police department has continued its efforts to find the athlete, who, along with 10-year-old son Aryeh, was caught in a strong rip current with other swimmers. The young boy was rescued and was not hospitalized.
The LAPD spokesperson told Fox News that they could not speak for other agencies regarding Gaspard’s search. Representatives for the U.S. Coast Guard did not immediately respond to the outlet’s request for comment.
In a statement obtained by TMZ on Tuesday, Gaspard’s family says they are still “hoping and praying for [Shad’s] safe return.”
“We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coastguard, divers, fire and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad,” they said through a rep. “Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return."
“As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad,” they concluded.
Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department previously told Fox News that lifeguards attempted to pull “in distress” Gaspard from the water, but “he went under before they could rescue him.”
Additionally, Pono Barnes, an ocean lifeguard specialist with the Los Angeles Fire Department, told ABC7 on Monday that he believes Gaspard did “submerge” in the incident, and noted the challenging weather conditions he faced that day.
Gaspard, who wrestled with the WWE alongside Cryme Tyme tag-team partner JTG, is married to wife Siliana. The couple welcomed their son in April 2010.