OCEAN CITY — The body of an Ocean City man, who went missing after reportedly capsizing a canoe in the Assawoman Bay near Fenwick Island in the early morning hours of March 2, was found in the bay near Ocean City around mid-day last Saturday.
While much of Ocean City was focused on the St. Patrick’s Day parade, emergency personnel were responding to a report a body was discovered north of the Route 90 bridge.
Nicholas R. Townsend, 23, of Ocean City, was last seen around 4 a.m. on March 2 while canoeing with a second man, Matthew Bullen, 20, of Fenwick, in the Assawoman Bay. The canoe, later reported to have been stolen, capsized in the bay and Bullen was able to make it to shore, but Townsend was not seen again.
The official search, which included the Coast Guard with the assistance of the Millsboro Fire Department was officially called off around 5:30 p.m. the same day. In the roughly two weeks that followed, a massive search conducted by family members, friends and the community continued in vain until Townsend was recovered in the Assawoman Bay near Ocean City around 12:30 p.m. last Saturday.
Townsend’s body was turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Maryland where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. Meanwhile, the investigation remains open pending the outcome of the medical examiner’s report.
Meanwhile, the investigation revealed after Bullen reached the shore, he allegedly used a brick to smash out a window at a residence on Roosevelt Ave., entered the residence and changed into dry clothes before returning to his own residence. It was then when Bullen allegedly reported the capsizing to his roommate.
Bullen has since been charged with the theft of the canoe from a residence on Monroe Ave. in Fenwick along with the break-in at the residence on Roosevelt Ave. He has been charged with second-degree burglary, theft, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools.