HAGAR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say the body found on a Lake Michigan beach Saturday is that of a man who was swept into the water late last month.
Police Monday confirmed the body is that of Eike Krebs, 23, of St. Joseph.
A medical examiner determined he drowned.
A 911 call from a resident around 4:20 p.m. alerted authorities to the body on the beach in Hagar Township, north of St. Joseph.
Krebs and his friend, 24-year-old Brandi Mannino, are believed to have been swept into Lake Michigan on Nov. 19. They had gone for a walk along the lake to look at waves whipped up by high winds.
A passerby spotted Mannino’s body on the shore in Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph on the morning of Nov. 20.
Authorities have been looking for Krebs ever since, with the Berrien County Dive Team conducting searches along the shoreline as recently as Dec. 17, MSP said.
MSP said the deaths seem to have been accidental. It said the Berrien County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct more tests to confirm the identity of the body.
Krebs’ family told 24 Hour News 8 on Saturday night that they were holding on to hope that he might still be alive, but ultimately were expecting a tragic outcome.
“He was really kind and helpful. He had a wonderful heart,” Bjorn Krebs said.
Eike Krebs was the oldest of three brothers. Bjorn Krebs, two years younger than Eike, said his older brother was his idol.
“He wanted to always make a difference in this world,” Bjorn Krebs said. “He was a man of character. He was a man of principles. He was a man of virtues. And he just had strong backbone and a lot of what he believed in… and wanted to stand up for what he believed in, including his faith, his country and many other things.”
Eike Krebs was on the swim team when he attended St. Joseph High School. His brother said he was a strong swimmer and knew the dangers of Lake Michigan.
Family members believe he died a hero.
“He just wanted to help out in every way and just be a kind person. And I firmly believe he dove in and tried to save Brandi,” Bjorn Krebs said.
Despite their grief, Bjorn Krebs said the family has been overwhelmed by support. He said some 750 people showed up to his brother’s memorial service earlier this month.
A GoFundMe account has been started to help cover funeral and memorial expenses.