Family seeks justice after son’s drowning 3 years ago


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Three years ago Brandon Mitchner was walking along South Washington Street near the Grand River with a couple of his friends at night when he fell in and drowned.

It wasn’t until eleven hours later when Brandon’s sister realized she hadn’t heard from him.

It was then she knew he was missing and called 911.

Police say Brandon was intoxicated which led him to fall into the Grand River but the Mitchner’s believe there is more to the story and it’s the reason why they are insisting the “Duty to Act”‘ law is enforced in Michigan.

Step by step, Shirley Mitchner along with her family and friends walked South Washington Street to honor her son Brandon who drowned in the Grand River three years ago today.

“I have a bag from the police, I have pictures and memories but I don’t have the hugs, kisses, the love,” said Shirley.

Years have gone by and time continues to pass and Shirley says her family still wonders what happened to her son.

“I don’t want anyone else to suffer, to be in the pain and agony and suffering like we do every single day,” Shirley stated.

The uncertainty and unanswered questions led Shirley to a law called “Duty to Act” that requires a person to help those in an emergency without putting themselves in danger in the process.

A law she’s eager to see in place here in Michigan.

“This would be truly a miracle oh my gosh I would be so happy because it’s honoring my child, it’s something that it would help somebody else,” Shirley added.

“Duty to Act” is currently enforced in nine other states but according to State Senator Rick Jones, the likelihood of this law gaining support and passing in Michigan is slim.

“People become afraid, they become distressed when they see somebody…perhaps they don’t act like they should…can we pass a law that makes people act? I doubt it,” said Jones.

Regardless, Shirley plans to continue the fight for justice for her son and says although there’s no bringing him back, she’s hopeful of what’s to come.

“If we have to do more walking the streets, canvassing whatever we need to do, we’re ready to fight to find out what happened and to get this law passed,” said Shirley.

Shirley says if she could save one life by passing the “Duty to Act” law, then this long, difficult journey for her and her family will be worth it.

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