Nelson's father missing; divers searching Delaware River

Updated: August 31, 2007, 9:37 PM ET
Associated Press

CHESTER, Pa. -- The disappearance of Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson's father has mystified his fellow workers at a Delaware River tugboat company, where he was last seen walking across a dock Thursday.

Divers, the U.S. Coast Guard and searchers with dogs looked for Floyd "Pete" Nelson in and around the fast-moving river Friday. The 57-year-old had been working Thursday in a dry dock area and was last seen walking toward a tug used as a break room, according to Harry Hays, the owner of Hays Tug & Launch Service.

The search was suspended around 4 p.m.

"We didn't see nothing or hear nothing, and the boys on the dry docks heard nothing, seen nothing. So it's a mystery to all of us," Hays said Friday.

Nelson's girlfriend and two sons have been on the scene, Hays said. Jameer Nelson arrived Friday morning and was seen speaking with officials involved in the search.

Floyd Nelson was last seen at about 11 a.m. Thursday. His lunch and car keys were found in the tug's kitchen area, and his car was nearby, Chester Police Chief John Finnegan said. Searchers were examining a 3-foot gap between the tug and the dock.

"If he was in that location and something happened to him medically, he might have fallen over," Finnegan said. "I can't think of anything else, unless he walked off, but I don't know why he would."

Nelson, a welder, had worked for the company for about a decade.

"His son wanted him retired, but he said, 'No way. I love my job.' He just told me that about a month ago," Hays said. "He's a wonderful guy. Everybody liked him."

Nelson, a Vietnam War veteran, wrote a book about his son's basketball career in 2004 entitled "Jameer." The Magic drafted his son out of Saint Joseph's in the first round in 2004.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press