NORTH PORT — The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has identified Levion Parker, a 20-year-old resident of North Port, as the individual who went overboard from a cruise ship in the vicinity of the Bahamas and Cuba last week.

The announcement came on Wednesday, marking the latest development. The U.S. Coast Guard ceased its search efforts for Parker in the waters off the Bahamas over the past weekend, leaving many questions unanswered.

Parker was aboard the Liberty of the Seas with his family, returning to Fort Lauderdale after a four-day cruise when the incident occurred around 4 a.m. last Thursday. The circumstances surrounding the fall remain under investigation by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

A former football player at North Port High School, Parker graduated in 2022.

Francel and Rose Parker, his parents, have been vocal about the incident, adamantly denying any suggestion of suicide. Francel, a respected businessman in Port Charlotte, highlighted his son’s expertise as a master diver who often worked on commercial fishing boats. Despite reports of alcohol consumption aboard the ship, Parker expressed incredulity at the idea, stating, “We don’t drink,” and questioning how his son was served excessive amounts.

In a heartbreaking account, Parker recounted throwing life rings off the ship in a desperate bid to save his son before the vessel halted, approximately 20 minutes after the fall.

Despite the grim circumstances, the family clings to hope, believing Levion is still alive. Francel Parker’s faith is unwavering as he spoke of praying fervently for his son’s safety, expressing confidence in the power of his prayers.

Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the moments leading up to the tragedy, with some media outlets citing witnesses who claimed to have seen an argument between father and son. Francel Parker vehemently denies such claims, asserting that there was no dispute before Levion fell overboard.

The Liberty of the Seas, part of the Royal Caribbean International Line, has been in operation since 2007, boasting impressive dimensions capable of accommodating thousands of passengers. Yet, tragedies at sea are not uncommon. According to the Washington Post, between 2000 and 2020, approximately 386 individuals were reported to have gone overboard from major cruise lines.

As the investigation continues and the Parker family grapples with uncertainty.