ST.JOSEPH, Mich. (WOOD)— Authorities have suspended their search on Lake Michigan’s rough waters for a second person, missing from Berrien County.
A woman walking her dog along the beach in St. Joseph’s Tiscornia Park found the body of 24-year-old Brandi Mannino Friday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan State Police and local first responders spent most of Friday searching for a man she was last seen with on Thursday night.
Mannino and the man told family members they were going for a walk along Lake Michigan; it was a chance to see high winds whip up Lake Michigan.
“It didn’t seem like her. She was cautious, but she was a thrill-seeker,” said Mannino’s cousin, Kristin Tavolacci.
“She was a free spirit, very spontaneous,” added Brittany Hook, another cousin of Mannino.
Whether the pair was swept off the breakwall or the beach, no one may ever know.
“She was just a very bright, you know,” Tavolacci reflected Friday.
“She was just the epitome of just a perfect 24 year old,” Hook added. “She had it all together- she was smart, pretty, [and had] very strong beliefs that she would stand up for.”
Mannino turned those beliefs into action, working as a youth minister at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Watervliet. She was also active in the Right to Life movement.
Mannino launched a career in radio at the beginning of the year, joining Midwest Family Broadcasting, which includes WIRX, WSJM, WYTZ, WCXT and WCSY.
“We are incredibly shocked and saddened by the news. Brandi was a bright young woman with a great desire to grow within our company. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones.” wrote Dave Doetsch, Vice President and General Manager of Midwest Family Broadcasting in a statement Friday.
Some of Mannino’s coworkers had the grim task of covering her death Friday. But it couldn’t compare to her family’s task of comforting each other.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Hook.
“We’re a very close family. If anything, we’re always here for each other, ” added Tavolacci. “We’ll always be here for each other.”
A winter storm was expected to limit the weekend search for Mannino’s friend to the shoreline.
Authorities have not released the missing man’s name.