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Posted on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Woman who tried to rescue Ypsilanti teen who drowned in Lake Michigan: 'I just saw that over and over again'

By Kyle Feldscher

The 25-year-old woman who saved Raybeon Rochelle Jenkins’ sister from Lake Michigan but couldn’t get to Jenkins in time told MLive the incident is haunting her.


Diane Kooi

MLive photo

According to a report in the Muskegon Chronicle, Diane Kooi managed to pull a 14-year-old girl from Lake Michigan on July 19. Kooi said she only rested for a moment before a 5-year-old boy told her that his sister needed to be saved, too.

“Friday night, I didn’t sleep. I just tossed and turn. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw that little boy asking me to save his sister, too. When I got out there and saw them out there, I just should have gone out there then. I just saw that over and over again,” she told MLive.

Jenkins drowned in the lake and was found dead on July 21 by rescuers. Jenkins and her family were swimming at the Pere Marquette Park beach.

Kooi and Michelle Mitchell, a witness to the incident, spoke to the Chronicle about what they saw that night.

  • Read the full report here.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Diane, you are a hero, please don't beat yourself up! Time brings healing with it. God Bless You.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

Awe, shes a hero but hates herself for not doing more. She did more then some folks would have done and not really her fault for not noticing the other person. This saving people from drowning is really tricky, if you over do it, you can also drown. Happens too often, one person goes in to save and two people drown.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Your a hero in the true sense of the word young lady. I'm sure all who know you are proud of your effort.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

Her story is heartbreaking. She is a hero. At least she did all she could. But this is upsetting...""The part that just struck me was just watching all these people standing on the pier. Not a single person threw out a life ring. Before I got out there, they could see that the girls aren't that old. It's common sense. They could have thrown a life ring out there and told them to come in. The life rings aren't there for decoration," Kooi said. "


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

It's pretty common in emergency situations. Look up "bystander effect" if you aren't familiar with it. Evidently it's such an issue that 911 operators are changing the way they deal with first responders; they're starting to *command* them to intervene physically (if safe) vs. only suggesting what the person should do. I frankly support that. It's hard to fight that immediate instinct to freeze in an emergency.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

People can act so dumb, its monkey see-monkey do sometimes, if nobody does anything, the rest just joins in. Takes a real hero to take action.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

Diane, keep your head up high as you are a hero!