Autopsy results to come for Finnerty

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 28, 2013
A Michigan sheriff's office expects to soon have the results of an autopsy being conducted on one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history. The body of 30-year-old Cullen Finnerty was discovered in a remote wooded area of Lake County, Mich., on Tuesday night after a three-day search. Undersheriff Dennis Robinson says the autopsy results will be released Wednesday afternoon. Authorities don't suspect foul play. Finnerty led Grand Valley State University to three Division II national titles and more than 50 wins during his four years as a starter in the early and mid-2000s. Sheriff Robert Hilts says family members had expressed concern that Finnerty may have suffered ''a mental episode'' before going missing Sunday while fishing along the Baldwin River. Robinson said the body was not in the water and was found in a wooded area in near the family's cottage. The search drew scores of police and volunteers, including staff and players from Grand Valley State. Finnerty last spoke to a family member Sunday night in a phone call in which he said ''he was nervous about something,'' Sheriff Robert Hilts said. Based on that call, the family suspected ''he might be having some kind of a mental episode - that he was either afraid or something and ran off into the woods,'' Hilts said. The sheriff said authorities had been tracking Finnerty's cellphone ''until it went dead.'' The terrain made the search for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound ex-athlete difficult, Hilts said. ''This is the last river that I'd pick to fish,'' he said, citing logjams and dense brush. ''And it's a very tough river to navigate.'' Searchers from the sheriff's office, state police and area fire departments fanned out Tuesday across a square-mile area of Webber Township, which is about 65 miles north of Grand Rapids. In addition, dozens of current and former Grand Valley State players, coaches and staff hopped on a bus and headed north to Lake County to lend a hand in the search effort. Grand Valley coach Matt Mitchell, who was a defensive assistant when Finnerty led the Lakers to national titles in 2005 and 2006, as well as former Grand Valley coach and current Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin were among those helping out. Finnerty, who starred at Brighton High School, originally accepted an offer to play at the University of Toledo but transferred to Grand Valley after redshirting in 2001. The dual-threat QB played for Grand Valley teams that won Division II titles in 2003, 2005 and 2006. He briefly was a member of the Baltimore Ravens and later the Denver Broncos. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was Grand Valley's coach during the 2003 national championship season. ''It's very chilling,'' Kelly said Tuesday, before Finnerty's body was found. ''He led me to a national championship as a true freshman. When I left, coach Martin took over and won two more national championships. My heart goes out to the family and to his beautiful wife.''
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