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Man found dead in Fabiano Botanical Garden

Taryn Wattles | Assistant Photo Editor Police used large tarps and trucks to block off public view from the Fabiano Botanical Garden Pond as the Isabella County Sheriff Department's Dive and Rescue Team recover a body from the pond. Police identified Michael Anthony Hartnett as the deceased later that night.

Administrators, shocked students and members of the Mount Pleasant community gathered together to watch a team of divers remove the body of an 18-year-old Dearborn Heights man from the pond in the Fabiano Botanical Garden at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Michael Anthony Hartnett was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:10 p.m. by the Isabella County Medical Examiner. Sherry Knight, associate vice president of university communications, said it is too early in the investigation to determine the cause of death.

CMU police received a call from Hartnett’s father 2:15 p.m. Sunday reporting his son was missing. Police and a group of Hartnett’s friends began a search near St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Park Library and spotted a body in the pond, which is 6 to 9 feet deep in some places,shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Isabella County Sheriff’s Department assisted CMUPD with its Dive Rescue Team. The team arrived on-site at 5:31 p.m. and created a barrier made of tarps and Mount Pleasant Fire Department trucks to shield their work from view.

According to CMU police, Hartnett was last seen walking on Washington Street near St. Mary’s church at 2 a.m. Sunday. His father told police that he is an insulin-dependent diabetic.

An autopsy will be performed Monday as police continue their investigation. Anyone with information about Hartnett should contact CMUPD at (989) 774-3081.

As students became aware of the situation through social media, more arrived on the scene to watch the search. The atmosphere became more somber as the night progressed and students could be seen consoling one another when the body was removed from the pond.

Steve Smith, director of public relations, said it took some time to assemble the dive team, whose members live across the county. CMUPD Chief Bill Yeagley also praised the work of police officers and emergency personnel.

“We want to thank the students, CMU Counseling, the staff of St. Mary’s, the Isabella County dive team, Mount Pleasant Fire Department and Mobile Medical Rescue for coming together in what clearly is a tragic incident,” Yeagley said. “The officers and all first responders on-site did a thorough job while also supporting Michael’s family and friends. Our hearts and prayers are with all of them.

The incident left a mark on spectators, who were not addressed by CMU officials at the scene. Knight said students will be informed after University Communications knows the full story.

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About Malachi Barrett

Editor-in-Chief Malachi Barrett is Battle Creek senior majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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