Elias Espitia, 41, of Neblett Street, apparently went for a walk at 10 a.m., said his sister, Macrina Guzman of Parksley. Someone called 911 at 1:22 p.m. to report a man’s motionless body overboard.
Guzman said Espitia was prone to seizures that prohibited him from driving. She said Espitia may have had a seizure and fallen overboard — family members said he could swim.
Accomack Sheriff’s Office Major Todd Godwin said the preliminary cause of death is drowning, a medical examiner has determined.
Espitia was a handyman who performed carpentry jobs. His family didn’t immediately know he was missing, figuring he was working.
“We didn’t hear anything else from him,” Guzman said on Tuesday. “We knew nothing else until yesterday.”
She said her mother began looking for Espitia on Monday and contacted the sheriff’s department.
Espitia was unmarried and had no children. He is survived by seven siblings and his mother, who lives locally. His father lives in Mexico.
“He was a really good guy — he was always helpful to everybody,” said Guzman.