Man drowns in tragic mishap at M’Chigeeng

Ian McCauley drowned over the weekend in Otter Lake. photo courtesy of Facebook

Ian McCauley dies 11 years after daughter’s drowning death

M’CHIGEENG—On Saturday, July 23, 41-year-old Ian McCauley of M’Chigeeng First Nation drowned in Whitefish Lake (also known as Otter Lake), two days before the 11-year anniversary of his daughter Alicia’s drowning.

In the early morning of July 23, members of the Manitoulin Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) Anishnaabe Police responded to a report of a drowning on Whitefish Lake in M’Chigeeng First Nation. Mr. McCauley and a group were on the lake in a pontoon boat. Witnesses reported that Mr. McCauley dove into the lake and didn’t resurface. The OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU), a helicopter from the OPP Aviation Services and an OPP Marine Unit were called in to assist. The USRU recovered the body of Mr. McCauley. The coroner has ordered a post mortem examination and the OPP North East Region Crime Unit and the UCCM Police Crime Unit are assisting with the investigation. Reports indicate that there were no life jackets on the boat and alcohol was a factor in the drowning.

On July 25, 2005, Mr. McCauley and his wife Crystal McCauley lost their seven-year-old daughter Alicia Marie Violet McCauley who drowned in West Bay.

Alicia was found unconscious in four feet of water near the beach in West Bay and could not be resuscitated. She had been swimming with a friend and her older sister when difficulties arose while the three were playing in the water.

On July 19, Ms. McCauley posted on Facebook, “if I can turn back time I would have made sure my daughter had her life jacket on. Her anniversary will soon be upon us and that tragic day will play over and over in my head as it has for several years. And the blame I will forever carry in my heart and soul. The forever guilt is impossible to live with at times and I completely break down and cry and wish that I was gone and not her. We buried our daughter on my husband’s birthday and to this day he does not celebrate his day. What keeps me going every day is my children and seeing a part of her in them.”

Sadly, only a few short days after her post, tragedy struck the McCauley family again with the drowning of Ian.

“This is my life and my forever best friend has left to be with our angel in heaven,” Ms. McCauley posted to Facebook on July 23 following her husband’s death. “My heart is shattered and I will never forget our life together. You’re my heart and soul and there will never be another you. I would give everything to hold you and kiss one more time. Forever my love—forever my friend.”

The Expositor was unable to reach Ms. McCauley but she posted on Monday, “Eleven years today is the first time I felt a pain like no other. My heart was ripped out of my chest and I knew my life would never be the same. God called my Alicia home with him and took a piece of my heart away as well. Now 11 years later he takes the love of my life, the father of my children, an amazing son and brother. My world is at a stand still and I am not sure what to do—I am angry, resentful, pissed off, and so many more feelings I can’t even explain. I have went through this once but now twice. How can this happen to my loved ones, to me, to my children? I know they say God only gives you what you can handle but this is just too much.
To my two angels, I will have a love for you both like no other and promise to do my best; please guide me when I ask for guidance and visit me often. Sing and dance together and always and know you’re my heart and soul.”

The family had not released the details of the service as of press time Monday.