Friends of man presumed drowned remember his life

KENOSHA (WITI) -- Friends of a 31-year-old man presumed drowned at Lake Michigan came together to remember his life and legacy on Tuesday, June 18th -- one day after he went missing near Kenosha's North Pier.

Ben McCarter was swimming Monday afternoon with his friends in Lake Michigan near Kenosha's North Pier, when a strong current pulled him under. He was at the lake for a cookout, but never returned to the shore.

"We were throwing the football around, ate some tacos, made some tacos and he bought pop and bought a cooler since we didn't have one," recalled McCarter's friend Manuel Manillo. "He goes out of his way to help out.".

The Kenosha Fire Department called off its search for McCarter as nightfall Monday night made the search difficult. Early Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard pulled its crew from the search.

Officials say they routinely patrol the area and will continue to do so.

Meanwhile, McCarter's friends remember his life.

"Just a loving person, very fun," Murillo said. "Enjoyed taking on new challenges, opening his mind to different ways of living and new perspectives."

One of McCarter's friends attempted to rescue him after he was reportedly having trouble in the choppy Lake Michigan waves, but that friend was unable to pull him out.

"We've already spent a lot of time with her today and last night,"  said Nick Walls, a friend of McCarter. "She's handling it as well as any human being could handle it given the circumstances."

McCarter's friends continue to reflect on the loss of a friend and their time spent with him.

"He was living life on life's terms. We were all seeing a whole new chapter of his life unfolding before his eyes and we were too," Walls said. "And I'm just glad that I got to meet him when I did and incorporate him into my life."

"It's tragic and it's sad. Yet, such is life," Murillo reflected. "Life on life's terms. We just have to learn how to deal with it and support one another."