Second Body Recovered in Search for Missing Stafford County Couple - NBC4 Washington

Second Body Recovered in Search for Missing Stafford County Couple



    Friends Grieve Mysterious Deaths of Boaters

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey spoke with people who knew the victims of a boating tragedy in Stafford County. (Published Thursday, July 9, 2015)

    A second body has been recovered from the Potomac River after a Stafford County, Virginia, couple went missing from a boat on the Maryland side of the Potomac River Wednesday night.

    Charles Zintner, 58, and Melissa Smarr, 55, vanished after leaving from the Landmark Yacht Club in Stafford County Wednesday afternoon. The couple was expected to return to the club at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Four hours later, club employees reported them missing. Bill Kennedy, a spokesman for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office, said Zintner and Smarr weren't known to stay out on the water at night.

    “It's very sad. I'm really shookup about it. They were just great people and he got along with everybody,” Charlie Wilkerson, a fellow yacht club member, said.

    Recovery teams found Zintner's body about 1,000 yards south of his boat after noon Thursday, Maryland Natural Resources Police said. Smarr was recoverd a few hours later, according to police.

    A crew aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter spotted the couple's 19-foot boat anchored and running a half mile off the Virginia shoreline, just north of Aquia Creek. 

    Investigators say it's too early to rule out possible crime activity. However, they do believe weather could have played a role. 

    “We did have winds up to 25 knots sustained and 27 gusts so that is some pretty strong winds for a 19 foot runabout so it is of concern and potentially a factor,” Mike Keane of the U.S. Coast Guard said.

    Crews found a cellphone, a woman's handbag, an open bottle of water and an open salad on the boat, but the couple was nowhere to be found, a spokesman for the Charles County Fire Department said Thursday.

    Several agencies are assisting with the search for the couple.

    Neighbor Mineko Calhoun recalled how just the other day Zintner asked to prune some bushes for her and how he often cleared snow from his long drive way and hers.

    “Both of them were a really nice couple, nice people,” Calhoun said.

    Anyone with information on the couple's whereabouts is asked to call the Sector Baltimore Command Center at 410-576-2525.