BALDWIN, Mich. (WOOD) - The autopsy results that came back for Cullen Finnerty on Wednesday were inconclusive but the medical examiner was able to rule out obvious natural causes like a heart attack, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Bob Hilts said the doctor, and his department, are now waiting on other tests, like toxicology reports.
Hilts told 24 Hour News 8 that the medical examiner is also going to pay particular attention to skinless brain injury as a cause, after hearing from Finnerty's family that the quarterback suffered many concussions in his football career. Hilts said those tests would take a longer period of time.
"That's what's confusing, is [that] there is no real obvious sign as to to what caused his death, so that's why they have to rely on chemical tests and that kind of thing to determine why," Hilts said. "This isn't the end that we wanted it to be. We're glad that we we're able to bring it to a close and to get him back to the family and stuff like this, but this is not the end that we wanted."
Finnerty's body was found at about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, roughly a half-mile north of the Bray Creek Campground where his one-man fishing boat had been found earlier. Finnerty's life jacket was also found in the same area as his body, but other fishing gear was not recovered.
Hilts said Finnerty's body was hidden by a "heavily needled" pine tree.
"Unless you were right on top of it, you wouldn't have seen him," Hilts said. "The undersheriff flew over [the area where he was found] with a helicopter, and the only reason he knew we were below him is because we were hitting it with a flashlight. He could see the sparkle, or the flash of the light, but he couldn't see us and I was wearing my yellow coat."
Hilts said that if vehicles hadn't been searching from east to west, they may have missed Finnerty's remains completely.
Finnerty disappeared Sunday after going on a solo fishing trip. According to officials in the Lake County Sheriff's Department, he was dropped off at the Baldwin River by his father-in-law and brother-in-law at the bridge near 40th Street.
Finnerty's last phone call was at 10:30 p.m. Sunday. His phone was since believed to have lost battery power, Hilts said. That call was made to his wife, where Finnerty said he was having issues while out on the watercraft.
Finnerty said he was nervous and afraid, and may have been experiencing some "paranoia," Hilts said Tuesday.
Some former teammates spoke at Grand Valley State University about Finnerty at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. Some had traveled to Lake County Tuesday to search for him.
"You're a team. You're still a team. You're always a team. Once a Laker, always a Laker. And that's how it was. We had no doubt in our mind we were going to stay up there until we found him and we did," former teammate Brad Iciek said.
They recalled him as vibrant and fun.
"He loved life. That's the one thing I can say and remember about him always, was the smile and energy," former teammate Curt Anes said.
Finnerty leaves behind two children.
"Leaving a family fatherless," Anes said. "That's what rips me up."
A funeral Mass for Finnerty is set for 10:30 a.m. June 4 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton, with visitation June 3 at the church, according to the Associated Press.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela will be honored Tuesday morning with a public memorial service expected to be viewed by people around the world.
Jahleel Hoskins was ordered Monday to stand trial in the murder of Grand Rapids mother of five Latrice Maze.
A woman accused of perjury in connection to the homicide of Latrice Maze is back in jail.