Naphtali Moi Moi, a recent Wyoming football signee, is believed to have drowned off the coast of Half Moon Bay in California late last week.
Moi Moi, a class of 2019 defensive lineman from Hayward, California, was boogie-boarding Thursday afternoon with friends at Poplar Beach when he went missing. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Moi Moi was knocked from his board by a wave around 3 p.m. and pulled out to sea by an “intense rip current.”
A human chain was formed in an attempt to reach the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Moi Moi, but he was pulled further out to sea. Local authorities used helicopters and boats in an attempt to locate the 18-year-old, but were unsuccessful.
From there, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said it had transitioned the case from a “rescue” to a “water recovery” as Moi Moi was presumed drowned. The search was called off on Saturday. His body was never found.
Moi Moi, a defensive tackle, had 72 tackles and 14 sacks during his career at Hayward High School.
“We have been talking with Naphtali’s family and our hearts go out to the entire Moi Moi family at this extremely difficult time,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said in a statement. “As a Cowboy Football family, we are all thinking of and praying for Naphtali, his family and his friends.”
— Wyoming Cowboy Football (@wyo_football) December 19, 2018
Justin Redemer, the head coach at Hayward, said Moi Moi was a “gentle soul.” A statement posted to the Hayward football Twitter account said Moi Moi’s death is a “tremendous loss.”
“His perseverance, loyalty and strength inspired all of us. His future was limitless. We grieve his loss but know that our lives are forever changed by his influence,” the statement said.
Yesterday we suffered a tremendous loss. A young man was taken away too soon. His perseverance, loyalty and strength inspired all of us. His future was limitless. We grieve his loss but know that our lives are forever changed by his influence. #RIPNeff pic.twitter.com/mW8YJJT8bI
— Farmerpride (@Farmerpride) April 19, 2019
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to raise money for his memorial service.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the student’s family and friends as they deal with this tragedy,” Hayward High School said in a statement. “When our school community experiences the sudden loss of a young, promising life, we are all deeply impacted.”
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