John Earl Irwin

Irwin, circa 1995

  • Missing Since 07/21/1995
  • Missing From Cassopolis, Michigan
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 07/30/1941 (82)
  • Age 52 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'1, 150 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Irwin is an alcoholic. He has suffered from two previous heart attacks.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Irwin was last seen in Cassopolis, Michigan on July 21, 1995. He went out fishing on Birch Lake that evening and never returned. He frequently fished late at night, sometimes staying out on the water until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., but would always come home. He has never been heard from again.

After his disappearance, his fishing boat was found washed ashore near a campground; inside it was a wallet, a whiskey bottle, a shirt, a pair of pants and fishing gear. Irwin's truck was parked near the boat launch, opposite the lake from where his boat was located. A neighbor reported having seen the empty boat going in circles in the lake at 2:00 a.m. on the night of Irwin's disappearance, but hadn't found this suspicious at the time, and when the boat was located, its motor was switched off.

Irwin had reportedly mentioned that he might go swimming, but his wife didn't think he would have done so while out on the open water. An eight-day search of the lake with divers turned up no sign of Irwin. Birch Lake is clear, but it's up to 100 feet deep in the center and has about 300 acres of surface water.

Authorities could find no evidence of foul play or a voluntary disappearance in Irwin's case and believe he probably drowned.

Investigating Agency

  • Cass County Sheriff's Office 269-445-1560

Source Information

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 29, 2021; casefile added.