Family still hopeful after Coast Guard suspends search

Vernon Stephens', 39-year-old, missing after crash on Mathews Bridge

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man's family is searching for answers, as they haven't seen him since Friday, when he was involved in a crash on the Mathews Bridge.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, early indications show 39-year-old Vernon Stephens' red Mitsubishi Galant broke down on the bridge and then was hit by another car.

His family hasn't seen or heard from him since Friday and worries he may have been thrown off the bridge.

Vernon's wife said Stephens was going to meet a friend Friday night to celebrate his birthday.

His mother is in town from Washington DC, helping the rest of his family search, for her only child.

"What I need is answers... This is my only child," said Yvonne Golden, Stephens' mother.

Golden is asking for help. Her son went missing Friday night after a crash on the Mathews Bridge, and she hopes someone out there knows something.

"I want to know if anybody has seen anything (or know anything). That's a big bridge and somebody had to see something. Please contact the Duval County Sheriff's Department... Please," said Golden.

Stephens was last seen Friday night before he was heading Downtown to celebrate a friend's birthday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office believes his red Mitsubishi Galant was broken down on the Mathews Bridge Westbound around 11 p.m. Friday night when another car hit him.

Stephens' wife, Andrea said it's not like her husband to not check in with his family and she wants the father of her children back home.

"He's the father of our two children. He's 39-year's old. In a couple of weeks, it will be our 11 year anniversary," said Andrea Stephens.

The family has been searching around the bridge and expects to expand the search area this week.

In the meantime, they're not giving up hope that their loved one is out there somewhere, alive and well.

"It's very important that the word get out about our efforts to find our brother, our son, our husband, and our very very close friend," said Robert James, Vernon's brother-in-law.

The Coast Guard said they have suspended their search until they have new information in the case.If you have seen Stephens, you are asked to call police at 904-630-0500.

The family has also created a Facebook page where they post updates and new information, it's called Searching for Vernon Stephens.

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