BRUNSWICK, GA. | A retired Glynn County police officer who did not return from fishing Friday night was found dead Saturday morning in the water off a causeway, police said.

Ray Starling, 67, a former Glynn County police captain, was reported missing about 9:30 p.m. Friday, and Brunswick police learned he had been fishing off Homer Wilson Way, Brunswick police Capt. Angela Smith said in a printed statement. The road is a dirt causeway that connects a dredge spoils island with Newcastle Street just north of downtown.

The Brunswick police and fire departments, Glynn County Sheriff’s Office, Glynn County Emergency Management Search and Recovery volunteers and fire department, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office dive team and Georgia Department of Natural Resources searched the water overnight and found Starling’s body about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Smith said.

Starling began his career in law enforcement right after graduation from Glynn Academy in Brunswick when he joined the Army and served in the military police. Starling retired in 2003 after a 31-year career with the Glynn County Police Department where he was a founding member and commander of the Glynn/Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team. He also served as commander of the department’s criminal investigation and patrol divisions.

At the time of his retirement, Starling told the Times-Union that, in his career, he had been in on the seizure of five shrimp boats, three sail boats, two planes “and a lot of dope.”

When they were fellow drug officers, Starling said he and his close friend Carl Alexander, the retired Glynn County police chief, had become suspicious of a pleasure boat out of Florida and tailed it for days. Those suspicions were borne out and several agencies moved in on the smugglers but not until the heavy lifting was done, he told the Times-Union.

“By then, we’d gotten smart. We waited for them to unload the boat before we arrested them,” he said.

Officers seized 21 tons of marijuana and arrested 13.

In retirement, Starling had worked for the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office securing the courthouse.

Smith said police are still investigating how Starling came to be in the water.

The body was recovered from the west side of the causeway where people can park and fish in a dredged area, officials said.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

Read the story from the Florida Times-Union here.