15-Year-Old Girl Dies While Water Skiing, Police Seize Boat While Searching For Suspects

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Florida authorities seized a boat suspected of being involved in the death of 15-year-old Ella Adler, a press release published Tuesday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) read.

Adler was water skiing Saturday when she fell into the waters of Biscayne Bay “while being towed” and was struck by another boat, FWC said. (RELATED: California And Oregon Cut Off Salmon Fishing Season Because Of ‘Climate Disruption’)

The boat that hit the teenage girl did not stop and she succumbed to her injuries, the press release said. The governmental agency used a description of the vessel to launch the investigation and found a boat matching that description that they placed into custody, the press release read. The owner of the seized vessel has been cooperative with the investigation, FWC noted.

“Our community suffered a great loss this Mother’s Day weekend. As Chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, I would like to thank all our officers and those from various law enforcement agencies who have worked and continue to work tirelessly on this investigation,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in the press release. The official pledged that his agency and their “law enforcement partners” would not rest until the case was “solved,” the press release said.

“As a father and grandfather, my heart is broken for the Adler family. Ella’s death is devastating for her family, friends and the community at large,” Barreto added.

Ira Leesfield, a lawyer with decades of experience in maritime law, told CBS News that he did not think it possible that the operator of the vessel that killed Adler could try to use the excuse that they did not see Adler and were unaware they hit her as a legal defense. Leesfield also told the outlet that he thought the laws concerning crimes on the seas were “too lax” and there was “not enough enforcement” of the laws already on the books.

“The world lost a star this weekend. Ella was beautiful and shined brightly. In her 15 years, she gave us more light than we could have ever dreamed. While we cope with this unspeakable tragedy, we ask the public to give us our privacy as we mourn,” Etan Mark, the Adler family attorney, said, CBS News reported. Mark mentioned that first lady Jill Biden “paid a shiva call” to the family. A shiva call is an act of condolence in the Jewish tradition through showing up at the mourner’s family home to pay their respects, My Jewish Learning observed.