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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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