Former Army Ranger Wrangler Leesman, originally from Valley, missing in Belize

GILBERT, AZ - A Mesa mother remained hopeful Saturday that her son, a former Army Ranger missing in Belize, will be rescued.

Dee-Dee Leesman’s heart tells her that her son, Wrangler, “is alive,” she said.

Wrangler, 29, has been missing since Tuesday.

He was born in the Valley; he now lives in Texas.

He and a friend were kayaking off Belize’s coast, according to the family and The San Pedro Sun.

Rough weather threw the pair into the water.

The friend was found alive; Wrangler remains missing.

“With his training, he can do anything,” Dee-Dee said of her son, who left the Army but remains a defense contractor.

Dee-Dee said she hopes that Wrangler was able to swim to one of many tiny islands in the area.

She met with family in Gilbert Saturday to pray for Wrangler's rescue.

Her family has had to pay for a private helicopter to search the area; Dee-Dee said Belize search crews did not have a government aircraft.

The family is raising money for the search effort through a GoFundMe page .

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