SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police say a missing kayaker has been found dead in Virginia Beach.
Last Friday, an off-duty officer saw a body floating in the water off of Sandfiddler Road in Sandbridge. On Tuesday, the medical examiner’s office positively identified the man as Ryan Tew of Suffolk. He was first reported missing last Tuesday, September 13.
Tew’s close friends tell 10 On Your Side he was very adventurous and a night owl. It wasn’t unusual for him to go out on the water late at night and they knew something was wrong when he didn’t come back.
“It was something that he’d do three, four times a week. It was something he loved to do,” said Jennifer Howell, a bartender at High Tide Raw Bar and Restaurant.
Howell is still in disbelief that Tew, who she called her “work son,” is gone.
“He was fun, outgoing. He was happy all the time. He loved to go fishing or kayaking or just out on the water period, just sitting on the water,” Howell explained.
Howell, who bartends at High Tide, was recruited by Tew. Tew’s sister owns the beach-themed eatery. Howell told 10 On Your Side Tew built a lot of the space with his own hands.
“[He] loved his family. Always talked about his family. It didn’t matter what they were going through or what he was going through. He has had something to do for his family,” Howell stated.
Tew has a brother and two sisters. He would often take his brother, who is in a wheelchair, to the family bar to play pool.
“Just the definition of a good friend,” said Chris Jolley, another close friend of Tew’s, “He would check up on you all the time and if you had something going on, he would be there for you. He would literally show up.”
Tew went kayaking around 11:30 p.m. on September 12 with plans of going fishing in Crab Creek. He was supposed to be back by 3 a.m. The Coast Guard began searching for Tew the next morning after his mother reported him missing. His body was found in the water off of Sandfiddler Road three days later.
Tew was 27 years old.