Social media helping missing surfer's family

Posted at 5:06 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 17:06:00-05

Social media is helping the family of Darryl Fornatora in South Florida connect to the search efforts for the missing surfer in the Dominican Republic.

Darryl went to the city of Cabarete Monday.

His mother, Nancy, last heard from him last Tuesday.

His parents said Darryl went on a surf trip with a friend to Cabarete and that his friend last saw Darryl on Wednesday afternoon.

Later in the week, a branch of Crime Stoppers in Cabarete launched a search for the 45-year-old man.

Through Facebook, Darryl's family is able to keep tabs on the search effort from Florida.

"It has allowed us to have a connection and communication. There are hundreds and hundreds of people on it, some live there, some live in other parts of the Dominican Republic," said Darryl's cousin Cathy Cabanzon.

But the social media page has also lead to moments of heartache for the family.

On Tuesday, a photo posted on a group for Crime Stoppers featured a man that looked identical to Darryl.

"You'd think it was a twin, that this was a twin. The type of shorts he would wear, the shirt he would wear, his legs look like his, his feet! We focused on his hands and feet a lot," said Cathy.

But the man in the photo wasn't Darryl.

"We believed it was him, and then we got  a message that it wasn't and then all of a sudden everything just crashed. It just crashes. And you get gulfs of exhaustion wave over you and despair again," Cathy said.

She adds, "Social media, the way it is, we can get such instant posts that send us on roller coaster rides. Some of them are good and most of them are false at this point."

Tuesday's post wasn't the only false sighting for the family since Darryl has been reported missing.

Despite the feeling of helplessness, Cathy said the family is confident they will find Darryl. They say social media may play a role in finding him.

"The good news is is that people are looking and it is a way to get it out," Cathy said.

If you know someone in the Dominican Republic that may see Darryl, that person is urged to call Leon Alter with Crime Stoppers at .