DNR officials: Body of missing South Bend kayaker found

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PORTER COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials say the body of Jacob Sandy, a kayaker missing from South Bend, has been found.

Jacob Sandy

His body was discovered by an Indiana Dunes National Park employee around 7:15 a.m. about a quarter-mile east of Porter Beach on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, DNR officials confirmed.

Sandy's official cause of death is pending an autopsy but "is believed to be accidental drowning." A DNR officer said strong winds on Tuesday may have helped bring Jacob's body to shore.

"Yesterday we had a strong north wind come in, yesterday evening, and when we have north winds that tends to bring items that are floating or submerged up into the shoreline," DNR Law Enforcement Officer Tyler Brock said. "[Porter Beach] is at the south end of the lake so when we get a north wind we get larger waves and those large waves tend to pick things up and stir the bottom up a little bit."

Sandy, a 23-year-old accountant who went missing May 18, was last seen near the water shortly before a storm moved into the area of the national park.

On Sunday night, May 26, officials said they had possession of what they believed was his kayak. An unidentified person found it, nearly 18 miles away, off the shoreline in New Buffalo, Michigan on May 21.

During this entire time, Jacob's family asked for the public's help. The family said strangers helped put up flyers, and they also were assisted by Wisconsin non-profit, Bruce's Legacy, and the Great Lakes Drone Company in Michigan.

Jacob's family said they would never stop searching for him, and his mother added that finding him brings them closure. On Tuesday, they spoke with NewsCenter 16's Kim Shine.

"No matter the action, how big or small, all these actions combined are going to lead to more hope for us," Paul Sandy, his brother, said.

"He's with us now. He's with us anyway, but I want to find him and bring him home," Carol Smith Sandy, his mother, added.

According to the Wednesday, May 29, press release from the DNR, the Sandy family also "wishes to express their gratitude to the many members of the community who supported the search effort either through providing information to law enforcement or offering other assistance."

Jacob had moved to South Bend in October for work after graduating college.