Missing paddle boarder an Army veteran, father with child on the way

- Four long, chilling days have passed since 35-year-old Andrew “Andy” Stifter went missing Saturday after taking his paddle board to Lake Waconia.

“He had his camera along," Commander Paul Tschida of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 9. "He was taking photographs of the shoreline, some panoramic views of the shoreline itself."

Carver County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team have looked for Stifter ever since.

“We've canvassed the area all day yesterday and all day today,”said Barnick, thankful for the community’s support.

Monday more than 100 volunteers canvassed the grounds along the lake with no sign of Andy in sight.

To the Stifter family, Lake Waconia has never been colder.

“It's been a very emotional few days,” said Chris Barnick, Stifter’s brother-in-law, speaking on behalf of the family.

Law enforcement crews tell FOX 9 the amount of time that’s passed is not discouraging. On the contrary, it gives them more motivation to bring Andy home.

“We want to bring closure to the family, we want to bring this to an end and it's our job,” said Commander Tschida.

Water temperatures hanging in the 38 degree range have made diving difficult. Not to mention Lake Waconia is the second largest lake in the Twin Cities seven county area and the largest in Carver County.

While Andy may have reference for the water, the Army veteran had little fear playing its sports.

“He is avid with his paddle board and kayak. He was a lifeguard, served our country, was very physically fit and it was just a hobby of his,” Barnick detailed of his brother-in-law’s interests.

Commander Tschida tells FOX 9 many area paddle boarders venture out in cold water.

“And when it freezes over they'll go out on the kite boards, so it's very much a year-round sport,” said Tschida.

Along with his love for athletics, Andy is also very much a family man. For ten years he’s been married to his college sweetheart, Katie. They have two children together: 9-year-old Grace and 6-year-old Issac.

“Katie’s also expecting. Their third is on the way, too,” Barnick told FOX 9 as he fought back tears.

As daylight faded over Lake Waconia Tuesday, Andy’s family maintained the hope they will soon find him, wherever he may be.

“Only God knows that right now and we'll just continue to pray for our law enforcement and our family that we're able to find Andy,” nodded Barnick.

Carver County Sheriff’s Dive Team will resume the search on Lake Waconia Wednesday morning.

For more information about Andy Stifter, click here.

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