By JOSE PAGLIERY | Miami Herald
The search pressed ahead Saturday for Cuban reggaeton star Elvis Manuel and nine others believed missing at sea, as the singer’s mother and 11 other migrants were sent back to Cuba, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Dana Warr, a Coast Guard spokesman, said there has been no sign of Elvis Manuel Martínez Nodarse and nine other people missing for days, though the search was continuing.
Manuel’s family, meanwhile, maintained a vigil—but grew increasingly concerned about the 19-year-old singer.
‘‘I haven’t heard anything from last night,’’ his aunt, Mirtha Maria Nodarse of Miami, said Saturday. ``I called Cuba, but nobody knows anything. My family’s waiting for me to find out for them.’‘
Warr said that Manuel’s mother, Irioska María Nodarse, and 11 other passengers—including rappers Carlos Rojas Hernandez, who goes by ‘‘DJ Carlitos,’’ and Alejandro ‘‘DJ Jerry’’ Rodriguez Lopez—were sent back to the country they had fled and were being processed by the Cuban government.
Two other people, suspected of being the group’s smugglers, were turned over to Border Patrol, Warr said.
Mystery and confusion surrounded the event, with speculation arising Saturday that Manuel and the nine other missing migrants never made it to a 33-foot, twin-engine boat that carried the 14 others and was found Wednesday by the Coast Guard.
Ramón Saúl Sánchez, head of the migrant advocacy group Movimiento Democracia or Democracy Movement, said he gave the Coast Guard a list of aliases the migrants may have been using to help locate Manuel.
Sanchez believes all of the migrants left Cuba in two fragile rafts to meet with a faster smuggling boat on the high seas—and that one of those rafts did not make it to the rendezvous point.
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