The search for a big wave surfer who went missing in Mexico this month has ended with the recovery of Adam Francis D'Esposito's body near the town of Rosarito, People reports. The body was reportedly found Sept. 9—a week after he went missing—but D'Esposito's family in the US was just notified Tuesday. "Our hearts are heavy as we come to terms with the fact that he is no longer with us," D'Esposito's sister, Briana, wrote in a Facebook post, describing her brother as "a very charismatic person with a big heart, passionate personality, and a deep love for surfing." Authorities in Mexico say D'Esposito drowned and there was no foul play. However, family members are unconvinced. Another sister, Mary, tells NBC San Diego that the 39-year-old D'Esposito was a strong swimmer who had spent some two decades surfing dangerous waves in Tahiti (at one point escaping unscathed from a shark attack).
"It's very hard for us and many of his friends to believe he would just drown," she says. "It seems like there has to be more to the story that led him to that point." D'Esposito, who lived across the border in Carlsbad, was reportedly in Mexico visiting his father. On Sept. 2, he took his dad's station wagon out. A local surf shop owner said he saw D'Esposito two days later without a shirt or shoes, acting as if he was being followed. D'Esposito, the father of a young daughter, had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, his sisters say. "With various sightings, the condition he was in, the paranoia, the fear he had, I feel we owe it to him to put together a timeline," Briana tells NBC San Diego. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help transport D'Esposito's body to the US, help with funeral expenses, and benefit his daughter. (Read more Mexico stories.)