Man found dead in canal wanted to turn his life around, daughter says

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For the first time, we’re hearing from the family of a man found dead in a Fresno County canal. Investigators say 46-year-old Anthony Vargas Sr. was found off Shields and Highway 41 last Wednesday night.

Driving by any canal is heartbreaking for the son and daughter of Anthony Vargas. They’re still in shock but chose to speak only to CBS47 & KSEE24 through their grief. They admit their father lived a troubled life but was ready to change before he suddenly vanished.

“Hi princess. This is my new phone. Call me back, okay. Bye,” said Anthony Vargas on his daughter’s voicemail.

It’s only way Adrina Vargas will ever hear her father Anthony again. She remembers seeing him for the last time just two weeks ago.

“Gave me a hug and gave me a kiss and told me he loved me. And that was the last time I spoke to him,” said Adrina.

Anthony Vargas had just gotten out of jail. His family says he battled alcohol addiction for most of his life but was ready to wake up.

“For the first time, he had told me that he was tired and when he got out that he was going to get out and he was going to start doing what he had to do,” said Adrina.

Adrina says her father chose to be a homeless a long time ago but always called to check in. This time, he went missing for a week as his family searched for him.

Last Wednesday night, Fresno Police say a woman discovered a man’s body in a canal near 41 and Shields. The Fresno County Coroner later identified the man as Anthony Vargas Sr., a man deputies say had been in and out of jail for decades. But according to his kids, he was a generous and loving man who rarely spoke about his troubles.

“He had his struggles and he did have different things but he would never show them towards us,” said his son Anthony Jr.

In 2017, Fresno County had five canal related deaths. So far this year, there have been five already. A statistic, Vargas is now apart of but his family still has questions about how he died that night in a canal. Now they stand where he was found, sharing what they’ll miss most about their father.

“Hearing him call my name. Hearing him say he loves me,” said Adrina.

If you’re interested in donating money to the Vargas family, here is the link: www.facebook.com/donate/1573605796077064/

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