Body of missing Gull Lake boater found

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-29 20:09:44-04

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office says search crews have recovered the body of a boater who went missing in Gull Lake on Saturday.

Undersheriff Paul Matyas confirms the body of Danyelle Phillips, 39, was found at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.  No other details were made available.

According to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, Phillips’ dove into the water after his teen son began struggling while swimming Saturday afternoon. People in a nearby boat reportedly pulled the teen on board, but when they went to help Phillips, he was gone.

Crews searched for two days to find Phillips’ body.

Crews were called to the lake at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday.  By early evening, authorities classified the search as a recovery effort.  Crews resumed searching about 6:30 Sunday morning.

“The family is pretty close knit, and we can see that when we’re talking to them,” Undersheriff Paul Matyas told FOX 17 on Sunday. “They’re absolutely in a state of shock over what happened, this was supposed to be a fun event and now it’s turned tragic.”

Relatives say Phillips wasn’t a strong swimmer but jumped into the deep water because his son was struggling. He was the father of three boys and was newly married.

Phillips helped coach the Kalamazoo Bulldogs youth football team. A cousin, Latron Whitfield, says “There was nothing he wouldn’t do for that team.”