Missing North Carolina man’s boat found near Portugal


(NewsNation) — One Minnesota mom now has renewed hope after her missing son’s boat washed ashore in the islands of the Azores near Portugal earlier this month.

Joseph Johnson, 44, went boating in November of last year at Carolina Beach in North Carolina, where he lives — but never came back. Nine days ago, though, a boat registered to his name was found 2,700 miles away from where Johnson’s trip reportedly began, Carolina Beach police said.

When the boat was found June 21, it had a heavy buildup of barnacles and algae, indicating that it had been capsized at sea for quite some time, Sgt. Colby Edens told the Associated Press.

Mary Kay Anderson, Johnson’s mom, said finding the boat was a “double-edged sword.”

“I was excited about finding this boat,” Anderson said. “But my next question was, where’s my son?”

Johnson was last seen leaving Federal Point Yacht Club marina on Nov. 22 on his boat, police said. A friend who arrived in town for a previously arranged fishing trip reported him missing five days later.

Johnson, an Army veteran who became a Green Beret, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, his mom said. But Johnson was thoroughly enjoying the ocean fishing he was able to experience in North Carolina, she added.

“He would often go out alone, which we were aware of,” Anderson said.

The night before Johnson left to go fishing, he had told his family he would be back the next night, and call his brother. That call never happened.

Since Johnson’s been gone, Anderson’s been keeping a journal to write about what the family is doing. So far, he’s missed several holidays, his son’s 15th birthday, and even turned 45 himself.

“I make sure that he knows that the family has never forgotten about him, that we pray for him every day and we think about him, and he’s ever in our hearts every minute of every hour of every day,” Anderson said.

All this time later, Anderson still hasn’t given up hope.

“I feel a great expectation that we’re about to see a miraculous rescue by the hand of God,” she said. “We have so many people praying throughout the nation and even in foreign countries, ministries that we’re involved in, that are praying for my son to return.”

It’s her faith, Anderson said, that keeps her going.

“Faith does not look at the calendar. It does not look at the clock,” she said. “I just have to put all my trust and cast all my care onto the Lord and just know that he has heard my prayer and that our prayers will be answered.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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