Body found in Lake Michigan gives sense of relief for mother of missing kayaker
BENZIE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) – After search crews found and recovered a body from Lake Michigan Thursday evening, the mother of a missing kayaker says she has a sense of relief. The body is believed to be 21-year-old, Tyler Spink who went missing in September of 2016 while kayaking in Platte Bay in Benzie County.
Tyler’s mother, Kelly Dalton, has been waiting two years for the call she received Thursday night, telling her that search crews with the non-profit “Bruce’s Legacy” believed they found her son's body.
“It’s been a long road,” Dalton said. “We’ve been waiting for this day way too long, when we finally got the news it was a huge weight lifted right off of my shoulders, I felt just so relieved and at peace.”
The non-profit from Wisconsin has spent countless hours on the lake over the past two years searching for Tyler. The discovery was during their fourth trip to the area to look for his body.
The group uses special sonar equipment to see images at the bottom of the lake. They located the body around 5:45 Thursday evening. It was recovered shortly before 9:00 PM.
“It’s very heart wrenching to see what they are going through," said Keith Cormican, founder of Bruce’s Legacy. "To finally have found him, it’s hard to explain that, it’s just mixed emotions."
Cormican started the non-profit in honor of his brother - a firefighter who drowned trying to save another drowning victim.
On Thursday, the Grand Traverse mutual dive team helped bring the body to the surface. It was then turned it over to the Benzie County Medical Examiner.
Search crews and Tyler’s family say they are now left with answers, and a special bond.
“They’re kind of like family now we spent so much time with them, and emotions and trying to find this young man,” explained Drew Morris, a volunteer with Bruce’s Legacy. “Even though we never personally never got to meet him, but we got to know him, and what his dreams were.”
Benzie County Sheriff, Ted Schendel says he’s thankful there are volunteers that can bring loved ones home.
“A small agency such as ours does not have the resources to commit to that type of search, so thank god for agencies such as Bruce’s Legacy,” Sheriff Schendel said.
“Tyler wouldn’t have wanted to be left out in that lake,” Dalton explained. “Now I know he’s at peace.”
The Benzie County medical examiner is working to make a positive identification; however the sheriff, Tyler’s mother, and rescuers believe it is Tyler that they found.
Tyler’s mother is now strongly pushing for others going out on the open water, to always wear life jackets and flotation devices.
She believes if her son was wearing one, he would still be here today.
Bruce’s Legacy helps families throughout the United States search for missing loved ones who have drown. They have found the bodies of individuals who had went missing in the open water up to 16 years prior to their body being discovered by the non-profit.
They operate on donations only.
If you would like to donate to their cause, CLICK HERE