Cullen Finnerty, a quarterback who led Grand Valley State to the Division II national championship in three of his four seasons as a starter (2003, 2005 and 2006), went missing late Sunday night after a fishing trip on the Baldwin River.
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 28, at 9:21 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
According to ABC's WZZM 13, a Grand Valley State coach has confirmed that authorities have found Cullen Finnerty's body:
According to The Grand Rapids Press, the Lake County Sheriff confirms the tragic news:
---End of update---
Northern Michigan's 9&10 News initially reported the unfortunate development on Monday and updated the story on Tuesday to document that Finnerty still hadn't been found.
According to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, family members dropped Finnerty off at the river, which is near the Bray Creek State Forest Campground.
When Finnerty finished fishing, he called his wife and said he was scared. He then abandoned his equipment and ran into the woods.
No contact has been established with the 30-year-old Finnerty since that phone call. Searchers discovered his pontoon boat at the scene, but it was empty. Search crews around the river and a helicopter view of the woods have not been successful in finding him.
There is no evidence available for investigators to deem Finnerty's disappearance suspicious.
Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com indicates that Grand Valley State head coach Matt Mitchell is in touch with some of Finnerty's ex-teammates, some of whom have talked to the Finnerty family. Mitchell noted that the investigation may expand and also expressed that he's holding out hope:
There’s talk that they may expand the search in the area and that might include civilian teams assisting in the search through the forests. If they do, we’d like to help in some way and we’ve been talking about that tonight.
...[Finnerty] was such a huge force here during a great period. It has caused a lot of us to reconnect. I heard from coach (Chuck) Martin (now at Notre Dame), and so many players from that era. Our thoughts are with his family and we’re all praying right now.
Another report by Wallner highlights just how successful Finnerty was as a player.
The signal-caller compiled a 51-4 career record in his prolific collegiate career as a Laker. That made him the winningest quarterback in NCAA history—regardless of division.
Finnerty, who also had a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, graduated from Grand Valley State with a degree in business management and has two children.