Tags: college | qb | found | dead

College QB Found Dead in Woods After Empty Boat Discovered

Image: College QB Found Dead in Woods After Empty Boat Discovered 2008 photo of Denver Broncos backup quarterback Cullen Finnerty stretching at the team's headquarters in Denver.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 07:43 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The search for a former Grand Valley State University football star ended late Tuesday when authorities found the body of Cullen Finnerty at a West Michigan campground.

Authorities found Finnerty, 30, in the Bray Creek Campground by the Osceola County Search and Rescue Team, about a half mile from where his boat was found, Lake County sheriff Robert Hilts said.

Family members told authorities Finnerty may have been experiencing an episode of stress or paranoia at the time of his disappearance. Hilts said nothing at the scene indicated any potential causes of death, but no foul play is suspected.

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Finnerty's body will be sent to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids for an autopsy.

Finnerty was one of the Grand Valley State's best quarterbacks, leading the Lakers to NCAA Division II national championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

About 100 current and former football players and coaches from Grand Valley State had joined in the search through the thick, swampy woods northeast of Baldwin.

Finnerty was found wearing fishing waders and a camouflaged jacket. He was in the woods about a half mile north of where he disappeared while on a fishing trip. There were no apparent injuries and no signs of foul play, according to Hilts.

Finnerty had spent the holiday weekend with family near Baldwin, according to his father-in-law, Dan Brink.

“We had brats and hamburgers on Saturday and grilled chicken on Sunday,” Brink said. “Everything was cool. It was a great weekend. We had a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs. There were no indications. There were no problems.”

Brink said Finnerty decided to go fishing Sunday night.

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“It was a nice night on Sunday and we thought, ‘There is a nice stretch of the river,’ and he got himself one of those boats, and he had been practicing on it. It’s a riverboat, a raft.

“We were only a quarter mile from each other,” Brink continued. “He ended up exactly where we told him to end up.”

After Finnerty called his wife, he disappeared, Brink said.

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