(01/14/14) - It's a sad end to the search for a missing Alma College student, who grew up in Harbor Beach.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Sean Murawske's body was found in a field off of North Charles, north of Iowa. That's in the city of Alma.
A prayer service was held at 4 p.m. at the chapel. When the day started, they planned to pray for his safe return. Now, they're honoring his life.
Murawske's body was found just before 12:30 p.m. It was in a field, right by property with 'Scotland Oil Company' equipment.
It's less than a mile from where Sean was last seen early Sunday morning, at a fraternity party.
His parents tell us Murawske's cell phone called them early that morning, but they didn't hear him on the other end - they heard rustling. When they couldn't reach him on the phone, his parents drove here to search.
Alma Police say, right now, there are no signs of foul play.
"We have no reason to believe anything other than he had, at this point and time, that he had wandered away," said Lt. Matt Schooley, of the Alma Police Department.
This is quite the shock for all the people who showed up to search for the 18 year old. They gathered at the chapel at 10 a.m. and started searching at 11.
Family, friends and complete strangers were going door-to-door, handing out flyers and asking people to check their property.
Right before they found Murawske's body, we spoke with his parents - Lori and Rick. They were trying to stay strong and remain positive. They told us they were beyond grateful for the Alma College community who stepped up to search and for the people who drove more than 3 hours from Harbor Beach to help.
"The ironic thing is we had a group of searchers that were here from Harbor Beach to help, and that's the group that found him," Schooley said. "Pretty interesting to see though, two small communities like Alma and Harbor Beach to see how many people came out here today."
When the Alma Police Department decided to organize a community search, they planned for 100 people to take part. Tuesday morning, every seat was full inside the Alma College chapel.
Many of the volunteers were students. They all said it could have been them, or one of their friends, and that's why they wanted to help. Some also knew him, like Harbor Beach native and Alma student Heidi Grekowicz.
"When my roommate first read the email that he was missing and she started pronouncing his last name and I was like, 'Murawske.' I know him. He went to Harbor Beach. And my heart just like dropped," she said. "Both the communities from Harbor Beach and Alma just pulled together and did all they could just to look for him, to do anything they could to find him, and the family has some closure now."
"It's scary, I mean, because it could have happened to any of us. And I can't imagine how his family feels, and his two brothers who go here," said student Lilly Slavin.
Just as they were about to join the community-wide search, the campus learned what no one wanted to hear.
"You always have that hope and like, you know, you pray for the best, but I mean, it's a sad outcome," said student Ana Saucedo.
Sean is survived by his parents and three brothers. Two of those brothers also attend Alma College.
A fund has been set up to help Murawske's family pay for his funeral expenses. If you'd like to donate to the Murawske Funeral Fund, you can do so at any Signature Bank branch.
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