Search continued for missing GR woman in Kimball Lake

A water rescue on Kimball Lake. (May 25, 2014)

GARFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The fiancé of a Grand Rapids woman missing and presumed drowned in a Newaygo County lake says she was on the boat with his brother and two other people when she jumped in the water.

Loved ones of the victim have identified her as 35-year-old Brandi Humphrey.

35-year-old Brandi Humphrey (Facebook photo courtesy)
35-year-old Brandi Humphrey (Facebook photo courtesy)

The fiance’s brother jumped in to help Humphrey with a life jacket when she began to struggle. He thought she’d grabbed the jacket.

But the fiance’s brother struggled as well and headed back to the boat. When he turned around, the life jacket was floating and she was missing.

Brandi’s fiance said they’d been engaged about a year. The victim had two young sons.

Jade Ostman, who lives on Kimball Lake, said her sister heard the first calls for help late Sunday afternoon.

“Just like a terrifying scream .. and someone said ‘Help me’,” says Ostman. “So they jumped on the jet skis and ran out there.”

Using a sonar equipped boat, members of the Newaygo County dive team searched the bottom of Kimball Lake Monday.

There were a number of obstacles in the search Monday. The water is murky, so divers had to search by feel. The sonar equipped boat helps; but the sonar only picks up shapes, so something as simple as a Christmas tree, thrown in the lake as a fish habitat, can slow down the search, according to Newaygo County Sheriff Mike Mercer.

The boat the victim was on stalled and drifted soon after she went under, expanding the search area.

While the victim’s fiancé declined to go on camera, he did want people to know about the outpouring of support from the people on Kimble Lake. Many of them were part of the initial rescue effort.

“It was just so like surreal to me; cause usually you see in movies, then it was just this real… it was just like sickening to think about,” Ostman said.

Monday’s search was called off around 9 p.m. Authorities will be back out on the lake at 8 a.m. Tuesday, weather permitting. Dive teams from Ottawa and Muskegon County will come out to the lake to assist in the search Tuesday.

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