Gilbert mom pleads for help finding missing US Army Ranger son - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Gilbert mom pleads for help finding missing US Army Ranger son

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GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

He's served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now US Army Ranger Wrangler Shane Leesman is missing in Belize, and his family has set up a crowd funding page to help with search costs. 

Leesman, who was born in Arizona, was on vacation with an Army friend. The two men were kayaking in rough waters when their boat capsized. His friend, Bradley Evans Josker, was able to make it to shore.

"They decided to turn back and they couldn't get the kayak to turn back," said Leesman's mother Dee-Dee Leesman.

"A second wave hit him so hard, that it knocked him completely off of the kayak," she continued.

The incident happened on Tuesday, April 29th, and though the Belize Coast Guard has searched the area, there has been no sight of the 29-year-old Ranger.

"He is strong enough to withstand the water, and his training has taught him to be out there a long time, so I believe he can make it back to me," said Leesman.

Right now, Leesman says the search is being done by boat because the Belize Coast Guard's helicopter is malfunctioning, so she has hired a private tour company to conduct the search.

"I got a hold of the helicopter company there and they charge $1125 an hour to search," she said, adding she could only afford two rental hours. 

Leesman says she's been in touch with the US Embassy in Belize, but it's been difficult to get any assistance.

"I know if anybody can (survive), he can do it," said Leesman.

"He'll probably come home laughing at me, because the last thing he said to me is 'Mom, don't try to write me. Don't try to call me, you know I'm coming home.'"

Her family has created a crowd-funding web site to help pay for the search. You can access the link here.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5(KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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