A body found floating in the water on Saturday near the Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi has been identified by officials as Sean Yates of Ore City. Officials say the 35-year-old had a mental disability and had been missing from the State Supported Living Center in South Texas since January 30.
Family members say Yates had been living at the center for almost 11 years and was ordered to be under 24-hour supervision. They say the staff didn't notice he was missing for hours.
"It hurts so bad because it could've been prevented," Ashley Yates, Sean's sister, said. "That's the biggest thing. I mean we can't pick and choose when we're going to go, but this particular incident I know could have been prevented."
Ashley Yates says her older brother went missing around 3:30 p.m. on January 30, but she didn't get a call that he was missing until 7 p.m.
"They didn't realize he was gone until a quarter til' five. So, he was already a good distance ahead of them," Ashley said.
Ashley says she spent several days in South Texas searching for her brother.
"When I was leaving Corpus to come back here that was the hardest thing I could do; to leave knowing I still didn't know where my brother was," Ashley said. "He runs off like that all the time but they've alwayscaught him. The longest Sean has been missing was 16 hours but he was livinghere at home."
On Saturday, authorities found Sean in the water near the Harbor Bridge.
"When we got that information of the body under the bridge, you don't want to assume it when you don't know but it's just that gut feeling that you get," Ashley said.
Sean was placed in the facility for his own safety 10 years ago and would come back to East Texas every two to three months to see his family. The Yates say they had not seen him since Christmas, but they did talk to him on the phone the day he went missing.
"He touched a lot of people's hearts. I guess we're still in shock," Ashley said. "He was a joy to be around."
Ashley says her brother's disorder taught her how to love others.
"It didn't matter if you met him for just a few seconds or you've known him all your life but if you met him one time, you would've never forgotten him," Ashley said.
The Yates family says they are seeking legal help to determine why Sean's disappearance was not discovered more quickly.
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