MARSHALL, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have called off the search for a Northern California business owner who went missing in the Tomales Bay.

The Press Democrat reports ( ) 70-year-old Charles Friend had been driving a flat-bottomed skiff in the bay the last time he was seen.

Friend is the owner of Tomales Bay Oyster Company. He used the skiff to drop off some of his employees on Tuesday at a boat launch near Hog Island.

Authorities began searching for him shortly after the skiff was found unmanned, motoring in circles.

Marin County Sheriff's Office Lt. Doug Pittman says a group of 75 friends, employees and strangers searched the waters on Wednesday.

Pittman says Friend was well loved in the community.

A fellow oyster farmer says Friend had a "heart of gold."


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,