Body recovered from Clinton River

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 2, 2018

Sterling Heights police are crediting kayakers for noticing the body of a dead person floating in the Clinton River.

According to Sterling Heights police, kayakers notified authorities at around 4:30 p.m. June 30 of what appeared to be a dead body in the river, though the witnesses reportedly lost track of where it had gone. Fire departments from Sterling Heights and Shelby Township couldn’t find the body either, and they ended their search July 1.

But at around 1:30 p.m. July 2, another kayaker reported seeing a body near the 39000 block of Utica Road. Sterling Heights police and fire personnel arrived at the scene and located the body, which was sent to the Macomb County medical examiner, police said.

Sterling Heights police say they are looking into the matter, though they hadn’t identified the deceased or the situation surrounding his death at press time. The body’s appearance matches what the witnesses described June 30: a white male wearing black shorts, according to Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski.

“It’s unknown where the person might have went into the water to begin with,” Dwojakowski said. “It’s hard to say what ultimately started this chain of events. Whether it was an accident or some kind of criminal event, we don’t know those facts now.”

Dwojakowski said that, generally, it is very unusual for people to drown in the Clinton River, and while it has happened before, “it’s been awhile.” He recalled times when people were swept down the river, but they were recovered alive.

He offered words of caution to those who use the river for recreation.

“I would say just be wary of the speed of the river, and especially after a large rainfall,” he said. “That river can vary in depth and speed in current, and it’s very deceptive.”

Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois gave advice on how to enjoy the river as safely as possible, such as using a life jacket and checking the river’s water gauge readings online.

“It comes down to recreating in a safe manner, no matter what you’re doing,” Langlois said. “If you play football, you’re going to wear a football helmet. … It’s just being prepared for that kind of stuff.”

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800.