MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Grand Haven investigators say they're not sure why Jeffery Steven Scarbrough, 29, was found inside white Honda Pilot submerged in the Muskegon River Tuesday evening. But they do believe the reason does not involve foul play.
State Police divers recovered the Grand Haven man's body near the Creston Road Public Boat Launch. His family reported him missing Saturday.
Scarbrough was last heard from Saturday afternoon when he used his phone while driving from a golf course in Muskegon County, three miles from the boat launch.
He was on his way to pick up his young son in Fruitport and take him to Chuck E Cheese.
A resident who lives near the boat launch said he saw the Honda Pilot drive down the dirt road Saturday evening, but didn't think much of it until he saw reports about the search for Scarbrough. He checked his surveillance video and tipped off police using Silent Observer.
Capt. Clint Holt with the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said that the Silent Observer tip prompted investigators to go to the boat launch Tuesday. Police used a drone to spot the vehicle in the water, and they then deployed a dive team.
"I can't really speculate as to why he was here," said Holt.
Michigan State Police also assisted in the search. Lt. Greg Poulson with MSP said the Muskegon River is higher than normal and there is a drop-off at the end of the ramp.
"There have been up to 10 vehicles in that same area that have entered the water in past years," said Poulson. "Very easily could have been an accident."
Creston Road is a dead end gravel road with an unimproved boat launch ideal for the launching of small motorized watercraft, canoes and kayaks.
Leading up to the river there are multiple "road ends" signs and large berm drivers approaching the river have to drive around.
Since 2000, an elderly woman who suffered from dementia drowned after driving into the river. A fisherman's truck and boat trailer were pulled into the river by a swift current. He escaped. Police say they've pulled stolen cars out of the river near the boat launch. And in 2003, another woman drowned after driving into the river. Police weren't able to determine why her car went into the water.
The warning signs begin about one mile from the river -- there's another at 2,200 feet from the water -- and several just before the boat launch.
Results of an autopsy are pending.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with expenses.
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