Autopsy set for 8-year-old Saginaw girl who died in weekend Lake Huron swimming tragedy at Tawas Point State Park

Contact: John Pepin, 906-250-7260
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 2, 2021

Victim's 7-year-old sister rescued

An autopsy is scheduled in Standish today for an 8-year-old Saginaw girl whose body was recovered from Lake Huron Saturday evening at Tawas Point in Iosco County.

About 30 members of the girl's family had gathered at Tawas Point State Park for a get-together Saturday afternoon. The park's day-use area features a popular swimming beach, a picnic area and a nature trail along the picturesque Lake Huron coastline.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers investigating the incident said many family members were in the park pavilion, others were swimming at the beach.

Witnesses reported that at about 5 p.m. some girls who were swimming in a group started yelling for help. At first, the witnesses thought the girls were playing, but two were struggling in distress.

Witnesses from shore went into the water to try to help the two girls, who were 7-year-old and 8-year-old sisters from Saginaw. Their names are not being released because they are juveniles.

A woman grabbed the 7-year-old girl and was assisted by another woman in getting her safely to shore. The 8-year-old girl did not resurface.

Beachgoers and police officers were searching the water. At that location, the water drops off to a depth of about 20 feet before shallowing to 2-3 feet, about 75 yards offshore. The girls were in the deeper area.

The Iosco Fire and Rescue dive team arrived and searched the area. The team found the girl's body near the lake bottom at a depth of about 20 feet, approximately 50 yards from shore.

Her body was taken by ambulance to Tawas St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Tawas City. She was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. by an emergency room physician there. The county medical examiner requested the autopsy.

Additional entities responding to the incident included staffers from the DNR's Parks and Recreation Division, Michigan State Police, East Tawas Police Department, Tawas City Police Department, East Tawas Fire Department, Iosco County Water Rescue, Iosco County EMS.

Review DNR beach safety tips for Great Lakes beaches.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.