Cullen Finnerty carries the ball against Northwest Missouri State Bearcats during the 2006 Division II championship game.
(Photo: Marvin Gentry, USA TODAY Sports)
BALDWIN, Mich. -- Police say former Grand Valley State quarterback Cullen Finnerty's body has been found.
Finnerty was found in the woods tonight after disappearing Sunday. Lake County Sheriff Robert Hilts confirmed the death at a news conference. Finnerty was 30.
"We were walking a good line," said Scott Boyd, who was on the search party that found the body. "I squatted down. We had seen some trail. And a girl shouted. She walked right up on it. I thought, 'Oh no.'"
Boyd sat on a curb, staring off into space.
"I can't believe it," Boyd said.
Finnerty was found wearing fishing waders and a camouflaged jacket. He was in the woods about a half mile north of where he disappeared while on a fishing trip. There were no apparent injuries and no signs of foul play, according to Hilts.
"There was nothing obvious to us, to the view, of anything that would have caused his death," Hilts said.
An autopsy will be performed.
Finnerty was fishing alone Sunday on the Baldwin River northeast of Baldwin. His family owns a cabin near Bray State Forest. Police said Finnerty called his wife Sunday night and said he was in danger.
About 100 current and former football players and coaches from Grand Valley State searched through the thick, swampy woods northeast of Baldwin this afternoon, looking for Finnerty. The football players broke up and worked in small teams, stretching out, working slowly through the dense forest, focusing on 2 square miles of private and public land about 65 miles north of Grand Rapids.
Earlier Tuesday, Notre Dame and former Grand Valley coach Brian Kelly said of Finnerty, "It's very chilling. He led me to a national championship as a true freshman, and when I left Coach (Chuck) Martin took over and won two more national championships. My heart goes out to the family and his beautiful wife, we're just praying and hoping and sending all of our thoughts wishes to the family."
Finnerty, who was the starting quarterback on Division II national championship teams in 2003, '05 and '06, had spent the holiday weekend with family near Baldwin, according to his father-in-law, Dan Brink of Muskegon.
"We had brats and hamburgers on Saturday and grilled chicken on Sunday," Brink said. "Everything was cool. It was a great weekend. We had a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs. There were no indications. There were no problems."
Brink said Finnerty decided to go fishing Sunday night.
"It was a nice night on Sunday and we thought, 'There is a nice stretch of the river,' and he got himself one of those boats, and he had been practicing on it. It's a riverboat, a raft.
"We were only a quarter mile from each other," Brink continued. "He ended up exactly where we told him to end up."
After Finnerty called his wife, he disappeared.
Police found his small boat but no fishing equipment.
Finnerty, who is from Brighton, Mich., had two small children.
Contributing: Daniel Uthman
Jeff Seidel writes for the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett property.
Jeff Seidel, USA TODAY Sports