Search Continues for Missing Man Last Seen Swimming in Stanislaus River

RIPON -- A Lodi man was last seen desperately grabbing onto a tree branch Sunday before he went missing in the Stanislaus River.

Under Highway 99 in Ripon family and friends hopelessly watched as crews combed the water in a desperate search to find 21-year-old Carlos Acatitlan.

"I'm really sad. I can't believe it, I'm in shock," said friend Elsa Ochoa.

Ochoa said she was not there when Acatitlan, his brother Jose and another friend visited the Stanislaus River on Sunday.

The Ripon Police Department said officers in boats and on jet skis have taken to the water since Acatitlan was reported missing. Low visibility, debris and other dangers have forced them to stop their searches short.

Jose Acatitlan, who spoke with FOX40 in Spanish, said he and other relatives have been at the river day in and day out, watching the water for his brother.

"I don't know what happened. I don't know but I have hope that we will find him," Jose Acatitlan said.

It's a search that has taken a toll as they wait for any sign that Carlos Acatitlan is still out there.

"I'm hoping, I'm praying," Ochoa said. "I'm praying hard so he could be alive."

The Ripon Police Department warns that swimming in the Stanislaus River is dangerous at this time. The water is moving fast and is about 55 degrees, which is not warm enough for anyone to be in for too long.