Stranded 3-year-old boy answers phone of deceased dad

GIBSON, Florida — Tina Morris was worried. She hadn’t heard from her husband for hours, and he should have returned from a personal watercraft outing with their 3-year-old son.

She used the FaceTime app Monday evening to call her husband’s iPhone. There was a surprising answer.

It was her son.

CNN affiliate WFTS said the child was “frightened and in tears.”

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday found a body they believe is the boy’s father, William Morris, in the mangroves along the shore of the Alafia River near Gibson, Florida.

The boy had been found safe the night before by a person who stayed with the child until authorities arrived.

“I tried to figure out what could happen because I know my husband would probably never leave my son by himself,” Tina Morris told WFTS before she learned of her husband’s apparent death. “It’s not like him, he loves him too much.”

William Morris’ Sea Doo was found not far from the boy, as was his life jacket and wallet.

It is unclear whether the boy knows what happened to his father.

“He was crying really bad. I couldn’t really understand what he was saying,” Tina Morris told WFTS.

One neighbor told CNN affiliate Bay News 9 that William Morris recently got the Sea Doo.

“He’s such a good person. I mean, we just can’t believe it,” Regina Rogers told the Tampa-based station. “He just got the [Sea Doo] a couple of days ago … and he was just going out to enjoy the day, build a sandcastle, never came back.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Morris grew up in the area and was experienced on personal watercraft.