Search Continues for Missing Swimmer in St. Clair River

ST. CLAIR, MI – The search continues this morning for a swimmer who went missing in the St. Clair River on Friday night, July 12th, 2019.

Riley Gleason

Facebook Photo: Riley Gleason

According to St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon, members of the Sheriff’s Dive Team and the Macomb County Sheriff Dive Team are using sonar in an attempt to locate 21-year-old Riley Gleason. Gleason went missing after jumping off a boat into the St. Clair River near the St. Clair Inn shortly before 9:00 p.m. Friday.

A search for him continued until after 11:00 p.m. Friday. The search continued all day on Saturday and Sunday. Monday afternoon, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Dive Team was joined by divers from the Sanilac County, Macomb County and Wayne County Sheriff’s Offices.

The search area continues to be an area of the St. Clair River just south of the St. Clair Inn.

UPDATE: The body found Thursday July 18th, 2019, in the St. Clair River has been positively identified. After an examination by the Medical Examiner’s Office, it has been determined the person found in the river is Riley Gleason.

Gleason went missing on July 12th after he jumped off a boat into the St. Clair River behind the St. Clair Inn. As soon as he was in the water, he began calling for help. Friends attempted to assist him, but Gleason went under water and didn’t come back up.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was called to the scene and began to search for Gleason. They were assisted that night by the St. Clair Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Over the next several days, divers from the Sanilac, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Sheriff’s Dive Teams assisted in the search, along with boats from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Border Patrol.

Yesterday, Gleason’s grandfather rented an airplane and began searching the area. He located Riley’s body in the St. Clair River off Russell Island in Clay Township about 7:45 a.m. A boat from the Algonac Fire Department responded and brought Riley’s body ashore. He was then transported to the morgue at McLaren Port Huron Hospital.

“We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of life, but are grateful that the Gleason family will have closure,” said Sheriff Tim Donnellon. “I would like to thank all of the first responders who assisted in the effort to find Riley. We are appreciative of all of their efforts in attempting to find Riley.”

Obituary for Riley Patrick Gleason

Riley Patrick Gleason, age 21, of St. Clair passed away on Friday, July 12, 2019. Riley Patrick Gleason
He was born February 16, 1998 to Timothy and Angela (Markel) Gleason. Riley graduated from St. Clair High School in 2016. He attended St. Clair County Community College and from there he went on to Ferris State University. He was employed as a laborer for Cortis Bros. Trucking and Excavating (Local Union 1191). Riley had a passion for sports, he started playing at a young age for both St. Clair Little League and Junior Football. He received letters as a varsity athlete at St. Clair High School for football and baseball. In 2018, after hard work and dedication, he made the spring football roster as a walk on for Ferris State. In his free time Riley loved recreational softball, snowmobiling, jet skiing, dirt biking, and deer hunting. Riley was a fun loving guy who was always ready to have a good time.
He is survived by his parents, Timothy and Angela Gleason; brother, Brady Gleason; grandparents Larry (Sue) Markel, Janice (John) MacDonald, Ray and Vickie Gleason; his biggest fan, great grandpa Richard Lough; great grandma Leona Markel; aunts and uncles, Kristi (Paul) Muscat, Kevin (Sarha) Markel, Karen (Tom) Kean, Shelly (Jerry) Klei; cousins, Kaylee, Brett, Mallory, Abbie, Reese, Myles, Mitchell, Meah, Paul, Lauren, Luke, as well as many close family, friends, including the Riverview Fly Shop Boys and a loving community.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, July 27th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, St. Clair. Visiting hours will be Friday, July 26th from 2:00-8:00 p.m. at Young Funeral Home, China Twp. With a brief sharing time at 6:30 p.m. where loved ones will honor Riley. There will also be visitation on Saturday from 10:30-11:00 a.m. at the church prior to Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the wishes of the family. To leave a message of comfort visit

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