MUSKEGON — A young woman from South Haven tragically died in Lake Michigan late Thursday evening.
Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis identified the drowning victim as 18-year-old Taleah Lowe, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.
First responders received a 911 call at 10:48 p.m. that a swimmer was struggling in rip currents in the water off the Pere Marquette Park beach.
“Muskegon Fire Department rescuers were on the water actively searching within 10 minutes of being dispatched,” the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union stated in an online news release.
Dive teams from the Muskegon Fire Department, Norton Shores Fire Department and Muskegon County Sheriff's Department. The U.S. Coast Guard also responded with a boat and helicopter to help in the search for the missing swimmer.
“Searches were conducted continuously and systematically and at serious risk to responders until the victim was located,” the news release went on to say. “These searches were conducted in the water with rescuers searching by hand in the darkness, by boat using side-scan sonar technology, and by air.”
Searchers found Lowe at approximately 1:30 a.m. Friday morning. An autopsy will be conducted, according to Lewis.
Lowe graduated from South Haven High School with the Class of 2021. A member of the school's Project Pathways group, she helped lead an endeavor to raise money to create a mural/sculpture on the side of the Michigan Theater, downtown, in honor of the graduating Class of 2020, whose senior year activities were interrupted with health efforts to control the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The three-dimensional mural, created by South Haven artists Kayla Wyszynski and Kathy Kreager was completed in the fall of 2020 and is still displayed on the theater's south wall.
After graduating from South Haven in May, Lowe enrolled at Grand Valley State University. One of her friends from Grand Valley, Rachel Paulsen, set up a GoFundMe fundraising site to help pay for a memorial to Lowe.
Paulsen, Lowe and several friends were swimming in Lake Michigan off Pere Marquette's beach when the incident occurred.
“On the night of Oct.14, 2021, me and my friends witnessed the passing of Taleah, a beautiful and young soul, due to a drowning incident from a current we had all experienced,” Paulsen posted on the GoFundMe site. “Taleah was one of the most kind hearted people on this planet, even if she didn’t know you, you would hear her say “hey” or “I love your outfit” to anyone she would see. She made the days of people including all of ours from day & night. She was the most goofiest girl in the world, who would make anyone laugh in an instant. She was a successful woman who was the first in her family to attend college, at Grand Valley State University. She was an outgoing girl who turned our worlds to the better.”
As of Friday evening, Over $2,000 of the $5,000 fundraising goal had been raised on the GoFundMe site.