Ronnie Peale Jr. still lost at sea after days of United States Coast Guard searching

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:08 PM EDT
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CRIMORA, Va. (WHSV) - Early Monday morning, Ronnie Peale Jr. went overboard and has yet to be found despite the United States Coast Guard searching over 5,000 nautical miles for him.

Ronnie Peale Jr. grew up in the Valley and graduated from Fort Defiance High School in 2006. He was on a cruise with his partner, Jennlyn Blosser. She was the one who reported Ronnie as missing. Blosser said Ronnie would make friends with complete strangers and talk with them for hours.

“He did that on the ship the whole time, I had to constantly chase him down,” Blosser said. He made a new friend, I really thought he was getting on their nerves but after reading the comments I was like oh my gosh they liked him.”

In a statement from Carnival Cruise Lines, it was confirmed that Ronnie had leaned over the railing of his stateroom balcony and dropped into the water at approximately 4:10 am early Monday morning.

The United States Coast Guard was tasked with the search and rescue of Ronnie Peale Jr. and have still not found any trace of him.

USCG said in a statement, “The U.S. Coast Guard has released the ship from any search and rescue efforts and advised the ship’s captain to continue on its way to Norfolk, VA. where it will arrive as planned on Tuesday. The Carnival Care Team is providing support to the guest’s companion and the traveling party who are on board.”

Ronnie’s family is devastated and is asking for closure.

“We want to bring our son, and our brother and our friend home,” Linda Peale, Ronnie’s mother said. “It’s a terrible situation and I know other people have been through it and the devastation is so overwhelming.”

Ronnie has eight brothers and 16 nieces and nephews supporting him from afar. Ronnie’s sister Ronda Laird said closure is the “most important” thing on his family’s minds.

“See these smiles? That’s because he made everybody smile,” Linda Peale said. “He would tell you something, he would give you his latest conspiracy theory. He would love to do things like that, he would be sort of off the wall but that’s what made it interesting too.”

Ronnie’s loved one said he has never met a stranger. He would make friends with anyone when they met. His brother, Billy Peale, said Ronnie brought someone they just met to a family camping trip and treated them as family.

“In the next couple of days, that guy he was saying hi to, he was a part of our camping group,” Billy Peale said. “Unless you’ve met Ronnie, you don’t know Ronnie. He would make sure you know him the first time you meet him, he is definitely that kind of individual.”

Ronnie’s friends and family said he enjoyed spending time with his family. He loved to fish, loved to play with his nieces and nephews and loved video games. He was described as the “life of the party” and a “sweet soul.”

Billy Peale said Ronnie would bring positive energy everywhere he went. No matter the situation, he would always say things will get better.

As of June 1, the United states Coast Guard have suspended the search for Ronnie Peale Jr.