Basketball coach found dead in park nearly week after going missing: Police

No foul play is suspected in the death of Makuach Yak, police said.

May 27, 2023, 12:01 PM

A missing youth basketball coach in Florida was found dead nearly a week after police said he was last seen going for a run.

Makuach Yak, 31, was found dead Friday evening inside the Delray Oaks Natural Area, a park in Delray Beach, Florida, local authorities said.

PHOTO: A missing person flyer for Makuach Yak
A missing person flyer for Makuach Yak.

"Right now, it appears his death is not criminal in nature," the Delray Beach Police Department said in a social media post.

The medical examiner will determine Yak's cause of death, and the investigation remains open, police said.

Yak, a youth basketball coach from Delray Beach, was supposed to coach on May 20 but was nowhere to be found, his friend and business partner, Tate VanRoekel, told ABC West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF.

Home security footage shared with WPBF recorded Yak in his front yard around 6:30 a.m. that day in a purple shirt and black shorts, the station reported.

PHOTO: Makuach Yak is seen in an undated photo released by police.
Makuach Yak is seen in an undated photo released by police.
Delray Beach Police Department

VanRoekel told WPBF that Yak's wallet, keys, cellphone and Apple Watch were "all on the counter, just sitting there."

In the days since he was reported missing, friends and family have held search parties throughout Delray Beach, a city on Florida's east coast located between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

Friends also spread the word through a Facebook group, Missing: Find Coach Yak.

"We ask that you pray for his family and all who loved him. We are devastated," the group posted on Friday.

Yak, a native of South Sudan who was also known by the name Paul, coached youth basketball in the South Florida region. He competed in cross country at Augustana University in South Dakota and once had ambitions to compete in the Olympics, according to a 2018 Des Moines Register profile of the runner.