Skeleton found near Cedar Point may be missing Solon boater, Charles Kaplan

SANDUSKY, Ohio — The skeletal remains found on a breakwall late Monday night off the beach at Cedar Point may be Charles Kaplan, the Solon man missing since his boat crashed in that area in October.

Sandusky Sgt. Dana Newell said the skeleton is being examined by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office to determine if it is Kaplan.

“His boat crashed right in that area and we have no other missing people, so it could be him,” said Newell. “We’ll know for sure after the DNA tests come back.”

Newell said two boys were walking along the breakwall around 10:38 p.m. Monday when they found the skull and attached torso lodged in the rocks. They ran and told their father, a firefighter, who confirmed the discovery and called police.

“We went out there the next morning to make the recovery,” said Newell. “It was too dark, slippery and windy to risk it that night.”

Bill Staiger, manager of the watercraft division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Northern Region, hopes the identification will allow them to close the investigation into the accident.

Kaplan and his longtime companion, Pamela Holstein, were last heard from about 5 p.m. Oct. 22, 2011, a Saturday, while boating near Cedar Point. Shortly after noon on Oct. 23, Cedar Point employees saw Kaplan’s 36-foot Rinker powerboat smashed against a breakwall. Holstein, 51, was found dead inside the cabin of the badly damaged boat after it was towed to shore. Kaplan, 58, was missing. The U.S. Coast Guard searched the lake, as did air crews from Detroit and Traverse City, Mich., to no avail. Staiger said an autopsy indicated Holstein’s death was consistent with a boating accident.

us-coast-guard-vessel-lake-erie.JPGView full sizeA skeleton found on a breakwall near Cedar Point Monday night may be the body of Charles Kaplan, a Solon man missing since last October.

Kaplan, 58, and Holstein, his girlfriend of 15 years, were on what was to be their last boat ride of the season on a warm weekend. The Coast Guard reported that Lake Erie was calm both days.

ODNR investigators still don’t know why the boat crashed into the breakwall that separates Sandusky Bay from Lake Erie.

In an interview shortly after the accident, Kaplan’s daughter, Emily, said she was perplexed about how her father might have crashed against the breakwall and wondered if he had fallen ill, because he was very familiar with the area. Holstein and Kaplan spent most summer weekends on the boat, Emily Kaplan said. Charles Kaplan had worked for 20 years as a sales representative for TNS Insurance Agency in North Canton. Holstein was a technician at Berris Optical in Solon.

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