SEBEWAING – The body of a missing Cass City man was discovered Wednesday morning near the mouth of the Sebewaing River after an approximately 24-hour search of the area conducted by authorities and citizens.
According to a press release from Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson, 21-year-old Parker Haire was found deceased in waist-deep water surrounded by phragmites at about 8:35 a.m.
Haire graduated from Cass City High School in 2016 and was a student at Michigan State University.
At 7:21 a.m. Tuesday morning, Tuscola County Central Dispatch received a 911 cellular call from a man requesting help, Hanson said. The man said he was cold, wet and could see a factory. The call was disconnected and local police and fire units responded to the plot location of the man’s cellphone, which was near Sebewaing County Park in northwest Sebewaing.
It was believed that Haire may have attended a New Year’s Eve party on Thomas Road in Northwest Tuscola County Monday evening and into Tuesday morning and Tuscola County Sheriff’s deputies searched that portion of the Thumb.
In Sebewaing, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office responded to search the river and surrounding area with the office’s airboat. In addition, a thermal-imaging drone from Thumb Drone Works was utilized as was a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.
Shortly after noon Tuesday, an employee of the nearby Sebewaing Michigan Sugar Company factory reported seeing Haire’s vehicle – a 2014 black Jeep – stuck in mud in between the factory’s treatment pond and Bay Shore Camp, on Pine Street.
The search for Haire ended at dark Tuesday and resumed Wednesday morning.
The cause of Haire’s death will not be confirmed until an autopsy is completed. Hanson said that water temperatures were estimated to be in the mid-30s, and the air temperature Tuesday and Tuesday night was between the teens and low-20s.
The Sebewaing Fire Department, Sebewaing EMS, Cass City Police Department, Michigan State Police, Unionville Fire Department and Cass City Fire Department also assisted in the search operation.
Haire was a star athlete at Cass City before heading to college. He played football, basketball and ran track, earning Thumb Sportswriters Association basketball recognition as a senior. Haire was also a state-finalist hurdler.
John Schneider is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.