Congresswomen's brother's body recovered

Oct. 9, 2008 at 7:18 PM
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LONG BEACH, Calif., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Southern California officials say they believe they have recovered the bodies of the brother of two local congresswomen and his girlfriend.

Teams from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Port Police recovered the bodies Wednesday night from a sunken boat off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"It looks like this was a very tragic accident," Sheriff's Chief William McSweeney. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families."

McSweeney said divers "discovered the remains of Henry Sanchez and what appear to be the remains of Penny Avila."

Sanchez, 51, is the brother of Democratic U.S. Reps. Loretta Sanchez, of Garden Grove, and Linda Sanchez, of Cerritos. he and Avila, 48, resided in Santa Ana, Calif.

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Paul Wiedenhoeft said the boat might have been involved a collision with a barge.

"It appears there was a collision between this boat and a barge that services Avalon," Wiedenhoeft said.

The 128-feet long barge was being pulled by a tugboat from Avalon to the Port of Los Angeles.

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