FORT MYERS, Fla. – A Kankakee, Illinois, college student attending Florida Gulf Coast University met a tragic end on Wednesday evening while boating with friends on a campus lake.
Graham McGrath, 19, vanished around 7 pm, prompting a 15-hour search that concluded with the grim discovery of his body by authorities.
The circumstances surrounding McGrath’s death remain shrouded in mystery. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, leading the investigation, emphasized that the case is open and active.
“Everything we do, we are suspicious in nature, and until we prove otherwise factually, okay, we treat everything as if it is,” Sheriff Marceno stated at a press conference Thursday. Foul play has not been ruled out.
McGrath and 13 others were on a wakeboat—a vessel known for creating wakes for wakeboarding—when he disappeared. Despite extensive efforts, the challenging conditions of the lake, with zero visibility, made the search grueling.
Sheriff Marceno, addressing reporters, described the ordeal. “We have scanned this lake all night. It is very, very difficult, and you know this is very traumatic for the students here. He was a student of Florida Gulf Coast University, this was in a shared lake. It really is an extremely unfortunate situation.”
The absence of visible signs of trauma on McGrath’s body deepens the mystery. Investigators aim to ascertain the cause of death. “Was it drowning? Was it something else? We will know definitively.”
As authorities continue their efforts, the privately owned boat adds complexity to the investigation.
Sheriff Marceno’s updates, including a message of solidarity and gratitude, have been shared via social media. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this unfortunate incident,” he conveyed.