It wasn’t the first time Cullen Finnerty had a “paranoid” episode, his wife told investigators.
Instead of driving home from Detroit a year-and-a-half earlier, he took off for Grand Rapids in western Michigan due to fears the FBI would follow him, she said. According to Jennifer Finnerty, her husband remained in a state of panic for four to five days.
Cullen Finnerty had a past addiction to painkillers, said his wife, who believed a pill he was given by an acquaintance may have caused the paranoia that spurred his trip to Grand Rapids.
He had not taken any drugs since spending time in a rehabilitation center more than a year earlier, and Jennifer Finnerty told police she could not imagine him going down that road again.
On the day of his disappearance, Cullen Finnerty awoke at 6 a.m., only three hours after going to bed, Jennifer Finnerty told investigators from the sheriff’s office and the state police two days later.
Her husband, Jennifer Finnerty said, went fishing and fed the couple’s 3-month-old before she woke up at 9 a.m. He had some mixed drinks and beer throughout the day before heading in to take a nap at 5 p.m.
He emerged two hours later and had a cup of coffee but skipped dinner. Jennifer Finnerty remembered telling her husband that his eyes looked “beady.”
By 8 p.m., Cullen Finnerty announced he wanted to go fishing one last time before the trip ended.
“The next thing he knew, Cullen was dressed in his new fishing equipment,” sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Ron Brown wrote, recounting his conversation with Matt Brink.
Soon, Finnerty, his brother-in-law and father-in-law were on their way. The Brinks dropped off Finnerty around 8:30 p.m. and watched as he boarded a small personal inflatable pontoon boat and floated down stream.
The plan was for the Brinks to pick up Finnerty in about 30 minutes, but as it turned out, it was the last time they would see him alive.
In the months leading up to his disappearance, Jennifer Finnerty said life was very good for the family.
Cullen had just been given a promotion at work, where he sold medical devices, and he was thrilled to have become a father a second time.
Asked why he could have gone missing, Jennifer Finnerty told police that lack of sleep and alcohol consumption might have affected him.
The morning after his disappearance, the immediate family and sheriff’s office was aided by an army of volunteers intent on doing whatever was necessary to locate the well-loved Finnerty.