Family of Chicago River death victim speak out after tragedy - KMSP-TV

Family of Chicago River death victim speak out after tragedy

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The family of a Texas tourist who died after falling into the Chicago River is talking about their loved one and looking for answers.

SEE: Texas tourist, 30, dies after fall into frigid Chicago River

For the family of Keisha Garnett said this was a devastating accident that has cast a pale over their Christmas, but now the family is facing another hardship: how to get her body back to Dallas.

Keisha Garnett was the only daughter in a family of three boys.

SEE: After tourist death, rescue dive team talks dangers of icy water

On Wednesday, relatives clung to one another for support as they tried to come to grips with the tragedy that took Keisha's life.

"She was the best daughter that, and the only one daughter that I had," said Keisha's mother, Carmita Caretela. "And I'm really missing her a lot right now cause I know she's not gonna come back with me."

Keisha was on a trip from Dallas to New York with friends. They decided to visit Chicago before returning home.

They were staying at the Omni Hotel on North Michigan Avenue. Keisha and her friend could not sleep so they took a walk to see the ice covered Chicago River. Keisha got too close and fell in.

The Chicago Fire Department Dive team was on scene within minutes, but Keisha had been underwater too long and rescuers were unable to save her.

"It's just like a sad accident, you know, it's like, there's not words for it," Keisha's older brother Jeremy Garnett said. "It was unexpected, she's so sweet, she's my baby sis, she's so sweet."

For the family their grief is compounded by the financial difficulty they face because of the cost of bringing her body back home and paying for her funeral.

They have set up a fundraising webpage, hoping to raise $9,000 for those expenses.

"I'm still trying to pick up pieces here and there and trying to put it together, but it's just hard to cope with," he adds.

An autopsy for Keisha Garnett was inconclusive Tuesday pending toxicology test results, according to the medical examiner's office.

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