BERRIEN COUNTY, MICH. — The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the search for a reported person who went missing while canoeing on the St. Joseph River. He was last seen near the Jasper Dairy Boat Launch in Royalton Township.
Officials received a report of the missing person on Saturday shortly after 6:45 p.m.
According to a Berrien County Sheriff’s press release, the missing person is presumed to be a 35-year-old man from the Kalamazoo area named Michael Scott.
Scott was canoeing with his friend, Andrea Dick, when he went in the water.
“I rounded the S curve, I turned around, I looked back, I saw his boat and I didn’t see him,” said Dick. “His boat was just floating.”
Scott and Dick are both part of the Kalamazoo Paddle Club. It is an exclusive group where everyone is considered family.
“I can’t even count how many times I’ve paddled with him,” said Dick. “He brought me into the group, saved my life. He’s my brother. It’s our family. He’d give me the shirt off his back. He’d give anybody anything he could.”
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division conducted an extensive search of the St. Joseph River. Authorities also used an advanced aerial drone to search, as well as an underwater drone.
Deputies found the canoe. However, Scott has not been located.
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division and Dive Team continued to search the St. Joseph River and surrounding areas on Sunday for Soott.
Members of the Kalamazoo Paddle Club have also been searching the river for Scott who went missing while canoeing.
“This is what it’s supposed to look like,” said Dick. “This is what community is.”
As of Sunday afternoon, divers have been pulled out of the water for the day and will be back at 8 a.m. on Monday to resume their search. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office considered the search high-risk because of high, fast-flowing water and debris, making underwater visibility difficult.
Scott is considered one of the more experienced paddlers within the group.
“If anybody should’ve been in that water yesterday, it surely shouldn’t have been him,” said Dick.
If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the Berrien County Central Dispatch Office at (269) 983-7141.
The Kalamazoo Paddle Club has also set up a Go Fund Me for Michael Scott’s parent’s travel expenses and to support his two children.