Benton Harbor Residents Ask FBI To Look Into 6 Deaths Across Several Decades
The first death came in 1991 the most recent just days ago. 6 men all passing away under similar circumstances, found drowned in the St. Joseph River.
The 48-year-old was found just days ago, as of this story, on May 28, 2018 at the outlet of the St Joseph River, the North Pier at Tiscornia Park.
WNDU reports that Williams' mother said,
an associate picked him up from her place Tuesday night and gave him a ride to St. Joe.
"She said he called her back and told her to come and get him because he was frightened something was going to happen to him but she didn't go back," Wilkins said. "He would have called me and told me mom don't worry about me I'll be home such and such a time. I haven't had a call from him."
Brand went missing in June of 2017. A month later his body turned up on the banks of the St Joseph River in the Morrison Channel badly decomposed after being in the water for an extended period and was identified only through DNA.
The body of Dewayne Flowers was found submerged in the St Joseph River in Benton Harbor by a group of divers, not looking for a body but diving for recreation.
An investigation at the county morgue revealed the identity of Flowers. Police say there were no apparent signs of injury, but they are still investigating.
"With the temperature of the water it could have been weeks," said Deputy Director Dan McGinnis of Benton Harbor Police Services. "Because the water is cooler, it doesnt decompose as fast. It's actually in pretty decent shape so it's hard to tell how long it's been. That's for a medical examiner to answer."
Timothy Allen was found in the St Joseph River near the Napier Avenue Bridge in St Joseph in November of 2011. MLive.com reported at the time,
Allen had been reported missing by his family on Nov. 12, according to the release. He had been last seen on Nov. 9 near the area where his body was recovered. Several land and water searches had been conducted in the area in an attempt to locate Allen but had been unsuccessful, the release said.
Allen's family had questions about the investigation and, through the Southwest Michigan Ministerial Alliance were able to get more information from area police agencies,
R. Chester Gully, pastor of New Covenant Community Baptist Church and a member of the Michigan Coalition of Ministers, said police are still waiting for official autopsy results because toxicology tests are pending, but the autopsy so far showed that there were no internal or external injuries to Allen, who was 44. He said it has not yet been determined whether the cause of death was drowning.
"There is still a thorough investigation going on, and we want the investigation to be as thorough as possible," Gully said. "The police departments represented here did a thorough job."
The May 1991 discovery of teenager Eric McGinniss and the controversy surrounding his death became the basis for the book, The Other Side of the River, reviewed in 1998 in the New York Times, which provides a summary of the McGinnis case:
White people live in St. Joseph, which is modestly prosperous, and black people live in Benton Harbor, which is blighted. Early one morning in May 1991, the body of a 16-year-old black boy was recovered from the river. He was named Eric McGinnis and had lived in Benton Harbor with his mother, a supervisor at a car parts factory. His father, a construction worker, lived nearby. By the descriptions of McGinnis's school friends, he appears to have been engaging, awkward and slightly clownish. Occasionally he dated a girl who belonged to a group known as ''wiggers'' -- white girls, that is, who are attracted to black boys. Oddly, since McGinnis had never been in trouble, one of the last people to see him alive -- five days earlier -- was a white man in St. Joseph who chased him briefly because, he said, McGinnis had broken into his car and stolen $44. McGinnis had $49 in a pocket when he died. His mother had given him $5 so that he could afford the admission to a St. Joseph dance club. The town's white police chief assembled black and white cops from both sides of the river, but none could figure out how McGinnis died. The most likely explanation is that he fell into the river and drowned.
Asking the FBI
Following the May 2018 discovery of Michael Williams and another St Joseph River drowning death, the Benton Harbor History, Old School and Throwback Memories Facebook page shared the following with contact information to the FBI Field Office in Detroit.
If you are concerned about the black males from Benton Harbor whose bodies were found dead in the river and think it should be a federal investigation please do this now .... Our city leaders won't do it so let's do it ourselves... I just did it .... Share , Share , Share , Call , Call , Call ....