"A female victim was found in the waters of Lake Michigan around 10 p.m. Thursday night north of Stearns Park Beach in Ludington.
Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett said a the female victim was transported by ambulance to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. A teenager was reported to have went missing near the beach earlier in the night, but Barnett would not confirm the identity of the victim.
Ludington police notified the public of a missing teenage girl, Albrianna Huck, 14. The department reported that Huck went missing at 7:40 p.m. Thursday, wearing a bathing suit."
Emphasis added. To me, when an official calls somebody a victim without modifying it (such as by saying 'drowning victim'), it signals that there was some crime committed; it also suggested that they were found in a non-revivable state. Black's Law Dictionary defines 'victim' simply as "Person harmed by criminal acts, attack target." So when Barnett originally would not identify the girl found and inferred it was a 'victim', I and others were confused, and thought there could have been a second person, perhaps somebody looking for Ms. Huck. By simply saying that the girl found matched the description of the missing girl and that search efforts had been called off, the chief could have saved the public from that confusion. Or maybe the COLDNews anonymous reporter flubbed the information.
But the COLDNews next story related quotes from the chief using the word 'victim' exclusively:
"Upon their arrival, Barnett stated they met individuals that located the victim in the water and had started CPR. Searchers and first responders continued CPR on the victim while she was being transported to the Loomis Street Boat Launch via a coast guard boat and then to the hospital via Life EMS. First responders continued to assist emergency department personnel in providing CPR in an effort to revive Huck. The family of the victim was directed to the hospital, and they were assisted by the Mason County Victim's Assistance Unit, Barnett stated."
The MCP quotes Barnett using that term throughout his press conference. The emergency workers did their job, but I hope if there's anything to learn from this (other than that the lifeguard program may be worthwhile) it's that the LPD must do a better job of informing and communicating with the public during an emergency. This was as bad as the sheriff's office usually does, and that's an embarrassment.