Body pulled from Galien River

Flood waters may have played a role in the death of a Berrien County man.

The man’s body was pulled from the Galien River this morning in a remote, wooded area.

It’s an area that is so remote, it’s doubtful anyone would have made the discovery by accident.

In this case, family members and friends went searching for 76-year old George Genetzke who hadn’t been seen for a day or so.

Police had already spent a fair amount of time in the area this week because of flooding along the Galien River.

Minnich Road had been closed because much of it was underwater.

Today, it may have been a flood related reason that brought officers back—this time with the Berrien County Dive Team.

“We found what appeared to be a man floating, tangled in some debris, about 15-feet off the shore,” said Chief Jim Stormont of the Chikaming Township Police.

The discovery came after a quarter of a mile trek into the woods to get to the secluded area where the body was found.

The land in question was owned by 76-year old George Genetzke who was known to sometimes stay—in primitive fashion---on the undeveloped parcel.

“I saw him, I’m going to say four days ago,” said John Enyart who lives nearby. “He (Genetzke) was standing there he was looking at the water, what he was thinking I don’t know. I do know that water went right up his driveway there, he had to go I guess up on the neighbors on foot to get down where his place was.”

The body was about 15-feet off a steep embankment—behind a building on the property that was described as a shelter.

The body was found in water that was now three feet deep, but was probably closer to five feet deep at the height of the flooding.

“So that definitely could be related to the flooding,” said Chief Stormont. “He may have been in an area that at one time would be easily accessible, because of the deeper water he slipped in there, and wasn't able to get himself out.”

The chief says police have found no signs of foul play although the investigation is continuing.

While Genetzke was 76-years old he was often seen riding his bike through the area.


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