Naphtali Moimoi is seen with his family at his signing day.

A body pulled from a California beach earlier this week has been identified as Wyoming football signee Naphtali Moi Moi, the San Mateo County Coroner confirmed Tuesday to the Star-Tribune.

An investigator with the coroner’s office said an official cause of death has not yet been determined.

The identification, which was first reported by KTVU-TV, brings closure after Moi Moi was swept out to sea April 18 at Half Moon Bay, a small Pacific Coast community about 30 miles from his hometown of Hayward, California. Moi Moi, at the beach celebrating his upcoming high-school graduation with friends, was on a boogie board before being taken away by a rip tide. Authorities conducted two separate searches during a 24-hour span but did not discover a body then.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that it had received information about a body being seen near the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. The coroner’s office also responded to the scene.

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Moi Moi, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive lineman from Hayward High, signed with Wyoming in December. Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said recently he’d been staying in contact with Moi Moi’s family.

While Moi Moi’s family held out hope, they also set up a GoFundMe account to fund a memorial service in fear of the worst. Wyoming held a moment of silence before its spring game while players wore black helmet decals that included Moi Moi’s initials and No. 50, the number he planned to wear with the Cowboys.

“We’re especially praying for the family, and we hope a resolution comes soon,” Bohl said afterward.

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Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter


College Sports Reporter

Davis Potter is the University of Wyoming athletics reporter. An Alabama native and 2011 Auburn University graduate, Potter joined the Star-Tribune in 2018 after five years covering Ole Miss and the Southeastern Conference. He lives in Laramie.

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