Family of Rockford man found in the Mississippi River speak: say they’re grateful for search crews

Local News

HAMPTON, Ill. (WHBF) – Its been a bittersweet 24- hours for the Mitchell and Stokes family.

The family says they never thought a family tradition, of taking a trip to Rock Island every year, would end like this.

David Mitchell, 35, of Rockford, fell in the Mississippi River while he was fishing around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Ivory Mitchell, David Mitchell Stokes’s father, told WHBF the Rock Island fishing spot was where his son was the happiest.

Mitchell’s family say a calm family outing suddenly became a scary and heart-breaking moment.

At least nine crews responded to the call in search of Mitchell. Officials spent four days looking for him.

His body was recovered around 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

Mitchell’s father says they’re persistence and determination to find his son is something he won’t forget.

Hampton Fire Chief Dave Johnson says incidents like these are never easy. “The family was continuing day and night to stay up in the area looking for closure, looking for peace. And the continuing thoughts that are in our head until we get that peace and closure is a really tough and difficult feeling too.”

The Mitchell and Stokes family are in the process of making funeral arrangements.They want to thank all the search crews involved for their service.

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