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.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017