Family of missing Niles man struggling to find hope

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A Niles family is struggling to find hope after a loved one disappeared along the Paw Paw River nearly 3 weeks ago.

35-year-old Cory Wright was kayaking with friends when he hit a log jam.

His friends made it to shore but he did not.

The family is dealing with more than grief right now. WSBT spoke to his sister-in-law Friday, who says his wife and three kids are trying to move forward.

But they're facing new struggles on top of feeling the loss of a loved one.

“She's still trying to wrap her mind around it,” said Ora McNealy, sister-in-law. “The kids have been crying that they want their dad and she's been strong just getting them back into school.”

After 17 days Watervliet Fire and the Berrien County Sheriff's Department are still searching for Wright.

Wright's sister-in-law says his wife and children are facing hard times -- unless he is found.

“She can't get his life insurance benefits without a body. And it's been 3 weeks now so she is struggling to take care of the kids, feed the kids, get them to school. Pay for birthdays they have coming up. Easter, holidays. She just wants to make their lives better and easier but she can't do that.”

McNealy says her brother-in-law was the sole provider for his family.

But now her sister is facing car repairs, a house payment and other financial burdens on her own.

McNealy set up a GoFundMe page in hopes others would help the family through this difficult time.

“It's hard to share the story because you don't want to ask anybody for help. But in this situation it's hard to get back on your feet when you lose somebody.”

McNealy wants her sister to have time to grieve the loss of her husband.

“Get through the grieving right now and then she can focus on the financial situation.”

The Watervliet fire chief says they're still searching for Wright.

He says they're hoping for warmer weather to help with the search.

The crew has narrowed down the area.

They will be back on the water Saturday afternoon.

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