Michael James Morris drowns at campground pond 2011.07.07

Written by David Green.

A rural Morenci man drowned Sunday night at the Green Valley Campground pond west of town.

Law enforcement officials Wednesday had not yet learned of a cause of death, although head trauma was evident, according to Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Jeff Ewald.

Members of a dive team located the body of 24-year-old Michael James Morris at about 1:40 a.m. Monday morning to end a search that started two hours earlier.

A witness reported watching Morris flip off a floating dock in the pond about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, but then turned his attention elsewhere to watch someone on a rope swing.

The witness recalled about 15 minutes later that he hadn’t seen Morris and mentioned it to another person.

After Morris failed to be located around the campground, the Morenci Fire Department was called to help with a search. Assistance was obtained from the fire departments in Fayette, Wauseon, Archbold and Delta, including water rescue and diving teams to focus on a pond search.

A sonar radar device was used at the pond without success and divers were unable to locate Morris after checking certain locations.

Eventually, divers from the Delta Fire Department established a search pattern for a detailed examination of the pond and Morris was located on the west side of the floating dock.

The campground pond is described as about 100 yards long by 40 yards wide, with a depth reaching 14 feet.

The county Victim Services Unit, an agency coordinated by the sheriff’s department, was dispatched to assist the Morris family.

The Sheriff’s Department reported that Morris lived on Whaley Road, Morenci.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016