OSSINING, N.Y. – The family of 26-year-old Bryan Johnson say they fear the missing Ossining man was the victim of foul play after he disappeared three days ago during a late night swim in the Bronx.
“It’s very suspicious and the sad part is, it really makes you think there was foul play,” Johnson’s aunt Roxanne Holmes said.
Saturday marked the third day that police and Coast Guard boats searched for Johnson along the coast of City Island. Police say he disappeared just before 11 p.m. during a boat ride after jumping into the Long Island Sound with a group of others to swim.
According to the family, other passengers on the boat had told them the driver, a classmate of Johnson's at Ossining High School, decided to pull a prank and drive the boat about 50 yards away from the swimmers in the water. Around 11 p.m., just 30 minutes after leaving the dock, the other eight passengers noticed Johnson was not on board and called 911, according to police.
But Johnson’s step-father, Bobby Lilley, said piecing together everything that happened on the boat Wednesday night has been difficult. There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the events that led to Johnson’s disappearance, he said.
“We feel something is suspect and it’s just suspicious how everything went down,” Lilley said. “Something just ain’t right. We’re hearing different stories all the time. Eventually the whole story will come out. It’s just a matter of time.”
On Friday night, more than a dozen of Johnson’s former classmates and friends from Penn State University spent the night at the Lilley’s home and went to the marina Saturday with his mother to search for the missing man, his step-father said. Lilley said the family is just hoping for answers.
“We just want him found,” he said. “Being in limbo and waiting and waiting, not learning anything, it’s tough.”
Family members described Johnson as a caring, generous and respectful young man. Working as a late-night supervisor at DoubleTree in Tarrytown, he had received three promotions since September and was planning to go back to school to earn a degree in hotel hospitality management, they said.
“He was just a very nice kid,” Lilley said. “He was easy-going, never said nothing bad or harmful to anyone, always smiling. Just overall a nice kid.”