Wyoming woman saves dog; drowns in Kent Co. pond

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A mother of three drowned late Saturday evening after falling through the ice at a Wyoming pond after saving her dog, police say.

The Wyoming Department of Public Safety says 38-year-old Tracy Cashman fell through the ice Saturday night at the pond in Battjes Park near the intersection of Chicago Drive SW and Blandford Avenue SW.

Family members say she left the house around 8:30 p.m. to take her goldendoodle Lola for a walk. They went across the street to the park. About 30 minutes later, Cashman’s son came home to find the dog, but no Cashman.

“Dog came back, wet, no leash,” Cashman’s mom Rhonda Moore said Sunday.

They expected Cashman to be close behind, but she didn’t show up, so they went looking for her. Cashman’s mom said the park was dark, so they contacted police. Officers arrived there around 12:25 a.m. Sunday.

Authorities say they found Cashman’s body in the ice. Fire crews attempted a cold water rescue, but she was already dead.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning.

“She would have never gone out on that ice if something tragic didn’t happen to that dog,” Moore said. “I mean, that dog must have broke the ice and gone under or she wouldn’t have been out there because she knows better. But it’s instinct. If it was a child, she would have gone out there. It was instinct for her.”

Her mom is concerned about Cashman’s children.

“I worry. She’s got two daughters and a son that now they have no mother,” she said. “It’s rough. She was everything to them.”

Family said Cashman worked for Godfrey-Lee Public Schools for more than 15 years, working with kids on the playground, cafeteria and buses. The district said she was the administrative assistant to the director of operations.

“She also had a big heart for kids,” Superintendent Kevin Polston said in a Monday statement. “She was quick to notice a student that needed a smile or an extra hand. Students found her to be a trusted friend at school that they could count on when they needed her.”

Schools across the district had a half-day student schedule Monday. The district’s crisis team had support available for students during the morning schedule and for staff after school.

According to the district, visitation is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf Funeral Home, 4145 Chicago Drive SW in Grandville.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Lee Street Christian Reformed Church, 1261 Lee St. SW in Wyoming. Godfrey-Lee Public Schools will not hold classes Friday to allow students and staff to attend.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover Cashman’s funeral expenses.

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