CASPER, Wyo. — A body pulled from a California beach earlier this week has been identified as Wyoming football signee Naphtali Moi Moi, the San Mateo County Coroner confirmed to the Star-Tribune on Tuesday.
An investigator with the coroner's office said an official cause of death has not yet been determined.
The identification, which was first reported by KTVU-TV, brings closure after Moi Moi was swept out to sea April 18 at Half Moon Bay, a Pacific Ocean bay near his hometown of Hayward, California. Moi Moi, at the beach celebrating his upcoming high-school graduation with friends, was on a boogie board before taken away by a rip tide. Authorities conducted two separate searches during a 24-hour span but did not discover a body then.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that it had received information about a body being seen near the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. The coroner's office also responded to the scene. A message left for the sheriff's office's public information officer Tuesday afternoon has not been returned.
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Moi Moi, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive lineman from Hayward High, signed with Wyoming in December. Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said recently he'd been staying in contact with Moi Moi's family.
While Moi Moi's family held out hope, they also set up a GoFundMe account to fund a memorial service in fear of the worst. Wyoming held a moment of silence before its spring game while players wore black helmet decals that included Moi Moi's initials and No. 50, the number he planned to wear with the Cowboys.
"We're especially praying for the family, and we hope a resolution comes soon," Bohl said afterward.
SMCSO received information about a human body seen in the ocean near the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay at 11:20AM on 4/28/19.— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) April 28, 2019
The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office also responded & will identify who this man was once family has been notified.
News release to follow. @CALFIRECZU pic.twitter.com/eb3oD5RizA