School Closings and Cancellations

15-Year-Old’s Body Found in Lake Michigan

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MUSKEGON, Mich.- Rescue crews recovered the body of 15-year-old Rochelle Jenkins, Sunday.   Rochelle went missing Friday while swimming with her sister at Pere Marquette Park.

“They were just standing on foot and they got this rip current that carried them out and pulled them under,” Rochelle’s father Don Jenkins told us.

A woman was able to save Rochelle’s sister who was out in the water with her.  Crews were unable to recover Rochelle’s body Friday and Saturday so Don says he slept on the beach.

“I stayed out here all night on the beach,” he said.

Sunday, crews found Rochelle’s body, but Don says more should have been done.

“It took like 30 minutes for someone to get out here with a boat,” he said “I feel like there should be a lifeguard on deck at this beach so this doesn’t happen anymore.”

“I don’t want anyone else’s child to have to go through this ever again,” he said.

Family and friends questioned why there aren’t buoys out on the water.  That’s a decision made by the city of Muskegon who owns the beach.

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7 comments

  • tracy

    A very sad tragic accident I saw a news interview with the Father and I realize it is a horrible accident what he said bothers me.
    This Father stood there and blamed the park for not having Life Guards when it clearly states no life Guards watch the flags.The flags were out and Red and I feel for the father but he must take responsibility it is his child to watch not others .We do not take our children to the beach and expect others to watch them.Even if they have life guards working the beaches they would not have been out there then as the beach by all rights was closed RED FALGS stay out of water. Also where was he when at least 5 other people besides the girls that were with her tried to save her?WHERE WAS THIS FATHER?CALL ME CRUEL BUT IT IS NO DIFFERENT THEN A PERSON WHO NEGLECTS THEIR CHILD IT WAS HIS DUTY TO TELL HIS CHI;LD TO GET OUT OF THE WATER!

    • Marianne

      I agree. Yesterday, I had plans to meet my sister and her family in Grand Haven for the beach (she has an 8 year old and a 2 year old). She called and said the flags were yellow and could go to red and even at yellow that she was not comfortable with her way-too-brave 8 year old to be out on the beach. She knew the 2 year old will cling to her. So, we had a bbq at my house instead. Red flags are a definite…well…. red flag. None of the beaches have lifeguards around here and even if they did, to get out there and to find someone pulled under, as shown by how many people tried before the "boats got there" indicates that it's hard to find someone. It's not the caribbean where you can see several feet down, the water is darker and unclear out that far. The only thing I would think is that it would help to have buoys because that helps you figure out when you're getting pulled out further and further by something to navigate to to keep perspective. It wouldn't help with the strength of rip currents, however. I'm very sorry for the family's loss; it is tragic, but parents have to know when and when not to allow their kids to do things. If you're not a strong swimmer, then you have to keep your kids closer, because you can't help them. If there are red flags, they shouldn't be out there at all. Perhaps, with life jackets, but even then if there are piers or other things that someone could get hurt near, then that's not good either. Better safe than sorry. =|

  • Cindy

    This father should have watch his own children. What would a life guard have done? The red flag was out tv and radio station were WARNING everyone not to go in the water UNDERTOWS were very high with the size of the lake waves. PUT THE BLAME WERE THE BLAME LIES THE FATHER!!!!!

  • Gwen

    My heart goes out to the family. So tragic. We should have a life guard out there. When my husband and I were in Cal. we noticed that lifegaurds had their bull horns and telling people they were to far out. People came back closer to shore. Safety. Sometimes you don't realize just how far you can be pulled out when you are having fun.

  • Holl

    150 yards out is quite a long way when the currents are that strong. Not to mention, there was a storm rolling in so it made the waters all that more rough. No doubt, the father should have been more proactive in keeping his kids closer to shore. Having them get out would have been the smart thing to do. Regardless of life guards on duty or red flags, the presence of common sense would have been helpful.

  • Kari

    So sorry!!! Prayers for the family and friends…. And come on people, give the man a break, he just lost his daughter! He's just grieving and mad and trying to put the blame somewhere, but we all know who he is blaming this on…himself. He surely does not need anyone else doing it as well. 😦