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United Cajun Navy explains why agencies suspended search for missing U-High grad

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NASSAU - The United Cajun Navy is not unfamiliar with international search and rescue missions, and when members heard a Baton Rouge native was missing in the Bahamas, they started coordinating efforts immediately.

Using a volunteer network down there that was established during Hurricane Dorian, the search for 18-year-old Cameron Robbins took place separate from law enforcement.

However, all searches were called off on Friday after absolutely no sign of the teen. United Cajun Navy Vice President Brian Trascher explained why that decision was made.

"Had they found like maybe a piece of clothing or any kind of clue, that would cause them to extend that 48-hour period, but if they don't get any kind of indication then that's usually when they call it off," he said.

The Robbins family returned to Baton Rouge this weekend.

"It took a lot of strength for them to go out there and stay for a few days. When we offered to take them out in a boat to the area where he went overboard and some of the area they were searching... They went, which I know had to be very emotional for them, but they went and by Sunday they decided they wanted to go home."

A Snapchat video of the last time Robbins was seen could hold key clues to what happened.

"He was in the water, not in distress, swimming very comfortably like he was in a swimming pool. He started swimming away from the life raft and that's where the video ended, so we aren't really sure why or when they lost sight of him."

As for what's next, Trascher says island law enforcement is taking the investigation very seriously.

"There was a lot of interviews done by the Royal Bahamas Police Force with some eyewitnesses, and I know they're compiling those interviews and seeing how much the stories match up and if it can point to any possible motive of how he got in the water."

Read the full statement below: 

In 2019, the United Cajun Navy responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The category 5 Hurricane was the strongest and most catastrophic disaster to hit the Bahamas in recorded history, and tied for strongest to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin.

In conjunction with other NGOs, the United Cajun Navy Florida chapter coordinated supplies from our warehouse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as well as from other donors around the country.

We worked with members of the Bahamas Parliament, the Bahamas Royal Defence Force, USAID, US barge companies, and private boat and aircraft owners to deliver truckloads of emergency supplies to the affected islands. During this mission, the United Cajun Navy met and befriended many local Bahamians as well as US citizens who had dual residency in the Bahamas.

On May 24, 2023 the United Cajun Navy was contacted by a family friend of Cameron Robbins of Baton Rouge, LA, with an alert that the young man had gone missing off a vessel near Althol Island. Because of the missing person being both a US citizen and a minor, we knew that there were certain protocols outside of our normal deployment procedures that would have to be followed.

On May 25th, UCN Vice President and National Spokesman Brian Trascher spoke with representatives from the US Embassy in Nassau, as well as the US Coast Guard in Nassau. These and other local officials were alerted that UCN had already deployed volunteer Bahamian vessels and aircraft near the coordinates where Cam Robbins was last seen.

UCN also learned that the parents of Robbins had been in contact with US Representative Garrett Graves (Louisiana 6th District) to arrange emergency travel to the Bahamas. UCN arranged for the lodging of the Robbins family while they were meeting with local Bahamian investigators. UCN also arranged for a charter boat to take the Robbinses out to the MOB area, as well as other parts of the search area where US and Bahamian officials had been working since early on May 24th. On Sunday, May 28th, the Robbins family returned to Baton Rouge.

The United Cajun Navy would like to thank the U.S. Coast Guard Sector 7 Miami, the Bahamas Royal Navy, Royal Police Force, Associated Terminals, Congressman Garret Graves and many other officials and volunteers living in the Bahamas who assisted in the search for the missing Cameron Robbins.

"Cameron was from my hometown of Baton Rouge, and although the outcome was not what we expected, it was an honor and privilege to work alongside Bahamian officials MP Frederick McAlpine, Mr. Clayton Fernander, Commissioner of Police, ACP. Kenwood Taylor, Crime Management and Criminal Investigations," remarked Todd Terrell, Founder and President of the United Cajun Navy.

"I hope we were able to help bring closure to the family and friends of Cameron by knowing everyone did everything possible to locate him.

Not every search in large waterway areas results in a recovery, but knowing so many people dropped everything on a holiday weekend to help with this search is a positive way to bring closure to families and friends."

The United Cajun Navy was blessed to make so many lasting friendships in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, and will continue to support The Bahamian Islands during Hurricanes and other times of disaster through our United Cajun Navy Bahamas & Abaco Islands Chapter in the future.


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