The Coast Guard had been searching since Friday afternoon in Texas City for missing boater Kemah Texas Police Chief Chris Reed, who had been swept overboard in the waters near the Texas City Dike.
Afer searching for nearly two days and over almost 700 square nautical miles with dozens of agencies and hundreds of volunteers on land, sea and air, Reed’s body was discovered early Sunday morning.
“The Coast Guard, along with multiple local, state and federal agencies ended the search Sunday morning for Chief Chris Reed, Kemah Chief of Police, after his body was recovered from the water approximately one and a half miles north of the Texas City Dike in Texas City, Texas,” the Coast Guard wrote in an email.
“At 7:54 a.m. a body matching the description of Chief Chris Reed was recovered from the water by a Galveston County Marine Unit boat crew west of Buoy 32 in the Houston Ship Channel,” the Coast Guard said.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Chief Reed, as well as the Kemah and law enforcement communities,” Lt. Cmdr. Caren Damon, Coast Guard SAR Mission Coordinator, said.
The US Coast Guard and many other agencies had been looking for Reed since 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. He was on his boat with his wife when he fell overboard, the Coast Guard said. It “immediately launched” rescue boats and aircraft. Authorities said Reed and his wife Jana were in a 24-foot “personal pleasure craft.” His wife called 911 to report her husband had fallen overboard and was missing.
The Coast Guard said Friday in a statement, its “Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a call Friday around 4 p.m. from the Texas City Police Department after it was reported to them that a male entered the water when the vessel he was on was hit by wake from a passing vessel. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast.”
More than a dozen local, state and federal agencies searched since the call that was initially reported as an unnamed man man was missing in the waters near the Texas City Dike, a levee that projects five miles into Galveston Bay. Reed went into the water a mile and a half off the dike, the Coast Guard said.
Involved in the search were Coast Guard Air Station Houston, Coast Guard Station Galveston, Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas City Marine Unit, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, Galveston Police Department, Galveston Island Beach Patrol, Nassau Bay Fire, Harris County Marine Unit, Houston Police Department, UTMB Marine Unit, and Texas Equusearch and myriad others.
Mark Daftary, of Captain Inn & Suites in Seabrook, Texas took to Facebook to offer free lodging at his inn for searchers: “We are offering free lodging for any law enforcement helping find Chief Reed @ Captain Inn and Suites.”
The search for Reed continued through the night and into Saturday. Friday night the Coast Guard said it would continue to search “for as long as we feel he is viable on the surface.”
Late Saturday morning, the Coast Guard issued an update on the search:
“A Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, an Air Station Corpus Christi C-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew, a Station Galveston boat crew, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark and a Coast Guard drone team are on scene conducting the search,” the email Heavy received reads.
There are 15 law enforcement, marine, state, local and federal agency vessels “are on scene as well as 25 volunteer vessels and numerous foot patrols along the shoreline.”
Saturday evening, searchers were still looking for Reed. The Coast Guard has searched over 650 square nautical miles with no luck.
By Sunday morning, the devastating news.
“The fact that I lost a friend is irrelevant. We ALL lost a friend. ALL OF US. What matters more:
His family lost a husband and father…
Kemah lost not only a Police Chief but a strong leader…
The Law Enforcement community lost one of its finest officers…
Airborne alumni lost a brother and a damned capable soldier…
The Texas MMA scene lost the man that nearly single-handedly saved it from the corruption of the TDLR…
The communities of the Gulf Coast lost a coach, an organizer, a leader, a contributor, and a bona fide ICON…
And the entire damned species lost one of the finest representatives that we have ever been graced to have walk among us…
I will lament his passing. But I will not mourn his death. We are a warrior culture. So I choose instead to celebrate his LIFE. And give thanks to whatever benevolent Gods were kind enough to grace us with his presence on this earth…
Until Valhalla, Chris Reed. You honored us. I hope that we may all live in a way that honors you…”
Reed was married to Jana Reed, an educator, and was the father of three; a college-graduate daughter who is a Realtor, a son who graduated from high school and a daughter still in high school.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Reed, Described as a ‘Big, Big Part of Galveston County Law Enforcement,’ Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket When Swept Overboard, the Coast Guard Confirmed
The Coast Guard held a press briefing Friday night with Lt. Cmdr. Caren Damon, Texas City Chief of Police Joe Stanton, Texas Emergency Management coordinator Tom Munoz, and Kemah City Manager Wendy Ellis.
Stanton said Reed is a “big big part of Galveston County law enforcement.”
Damon said the boat “caught a wake of a vessel passing …became off balance and fell overboard.” She added that Reed was not wearing a life jacket when he went overboard.
Ellis said, “Chief Reed is a valued colleague, a trusted friend, a family man, a community volunteer …” She asked that people respect his family’s privacy and “have positive thoughts for them.”
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark will remain on scene in Galveston Bay and search throughout the night Saturday.
2. Reed was a Police Chief, a School Board Trustee, a Former City Manager, Business Owner, & Civic & Community Leader & ‘One of the Finest Men I Ever Met’
According to the bio on its business website, Chris Reed Consulting, Reed has nearly three decades of experience in municipal government. He served as the City Manager in Nassau Bay, Texas and City Manager for League City, Texas after being with the League City Police Department.
Reed has been the Kemah Police Chief for two years. Ellis said he’d retired and was running his consulting business and was in fact working with Kemah city officials to fill the post of chief of police. But ended up taking the job, Ellis said, because he was “such a good fit.”
“He came to work for Kemah when we were in need.”
He earned a Master of Science degree from Sam Houston State University, was selected by the Shepperd Leadership Institute of the University of Texas–Permian Basin as Texas’ 2012 Outstanding Local Leader, and was a finalist for University of Houston Public Official of the year in 2015.
Reed is active in the Lions Club, received the Melvin Jones Fellowship for his commitment to humanitarian work, served as Chairman of the 53rd Annual Village Fair and Music Festival, is a member of numerous professional organizations, and serves on various committees in the community and in Clear Creek Independent School District.
3. Reed, a ‘Really Good Cop,’ Was a US Army Paratrooper, an MMA Fighter & Combative Sports Ref. HE Was Also an ‘Advocate For Children & Justice
Reed was a paratrooper in the U. S. Army, is a graduate of the 210th Session of the FBI National Law Enforcement Academy, as an a law enforcement officer, was awarded the Law Enforcement Purple Heart for being shot in the line of duty.
He’s a MMA fighter, Chris ‘Celtic Tiger’ Reed.
On his Facebook page, Reed describes himself as an advocate for children and justice, and a combative sports referee.
4. Reed was a Larger Than Life, Beloved Public Figure in His Community, According to Thousands of Social Media Posts
“Prayers for Chris Reed a fellow League City Lions Club member. Praying for his family and for his safety?”
“Praying for my man Chris Reed and his family. He is one of the most well rounded men I’ve ever met, and one of the hardest. If anyone can surprise us here it would be him. Rangers Lead The Way.”
“Chris Reed is a damn good man. If you’re the praying type please pray for his safe return. If you’re not the praying type keep him in your thoughts. I’m holding out hope for him.”
“Heavenly Father Dear Lord help them find Chris Reed he’s a strong man he’s waiting for them to rescue him.
Chris and I have butted heads so many times he’s on the CCISD School board and he’s also the police chief for the City of Kemah he has a beautiful family I have the utmost respect for him please Dear Lord help the rescuers find him.
Please friends and family pray that they find Chris,” wrote Evelyn Gidden.
5. Social Media Lit up With Prayers, Hopes, Memories & Praise for Reed, ‘A Great Man’
Lisa Marino Sanders wrote, “My heart is breaking for Chris Reed and his family. Chris and I go back to the late 80’s when we went thru basic training and MP school in the Army at the same time. ?? ?”
“Please stop what you are doing and say a special prayer for my good friend, Chris Reed. May God bring my brother home safely. Please. I’m sick to my stomach and my hands are shaking. Please God,” Ragan McDaniel pleaded.
Lori Ann Billingsley wrote, “I can’t believe this. Chris Reed, I’m praying for a miracle tonight! No one believed in me like you did.”
“Chris, you are on our minds and our hearts! Lord, please watch over this man who has done so much for our community and our country. If there is anyone who can survive in those conditions it’s you. ???”
“Chris Reed is literally one of the best human beings that I have ever met. We been friends since 2007 and he has helped me with things inside and outside of the mma world. Rarely do I even have emotions but this is hitting hard. Life can change in a blink. Prayers that they find you and that somehow you are safe and sound. #CelticTiger”