The body of a 33-year-old Baltimore man was found Thursday morning in the water near Broadway Pier in Fells Point, nearly two weeks after he’d fled from police in the area, jumped into the water and went missing, police and his family confirmed.
Gokhan Oztas’ family was “almost certain” he was dead, but “everyone had a little tiny hope that he would be found alive,” said his father, Hasan Oztas. “That one little tiny hope today burst.”
Det. Nicole Monroe said police divers were in the waters on Thursday morning to conduct a search using underwater sonar — waters they had searched at least twice before — when they found Oztas’ body.
Hasan Oztas said his son leaves behind immediate and extended family who cared deeply for him.
“We just want to let everyone know that he had a family that loved him very much, and was always in contact with him,” the father said. “He was a good man, but he had a few issues that he couldn't overcome.”
Oztas, who grew up in St. Mary’s County, was a regular sight around Fells Point, sometimes juggling a soccer ball, sometimes panhandling. He’d recently listed a city homeless shelter as his address in court records.
Oztas was stopped by police patrolling in Fells Point on March 30 after a tavern manager complained about his harassing customers and employees, and police had determined he had an open warrant for his arrest for second-degree assault.
Oztas then fled and jumped into the water, police said. Officers “last observed Oztas drifting back towards the dock and then submerged in the water,” they said.
Hasan Oztas said he was glad to have his son’s body back Thursday, but also was overcome with the same flood of emotions that overtook him the day he learned his son was missing and presumed dead.
“We are reliving the day we lost him,” he said. “We are going to grieve. I don’t know how that process is going to work as we go on, but there is some sort of relief that we have him.”
A police investigation into the circumstances surrounding Oztas’ death is continuing, police said.