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4-year-old dies in drowning accident in Cheboygan Co.

CHEBOYGAN COUNTY — The Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that a child died in a drowning accident in Wolverine.

On Monday at 12:34 p.m., the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department as well as other first responders were sent to Lumberjack Park in Wolverine for a missing child. A Tuscarora Township Fire Department member who lives in the area arrived on scene and started a search of the shoreline of the Sturgeon River.

Shortly after the search began, the child - identified as James Patrick Zassadney, 4, of Onaway - was found unresponsive in the river, deputies said. The child was pulled to shore where first responders administered CPR, deputies said.


The child was rushed to Otsego Memorial Hospital by Cheboygan Life Support Systems, where staff unsuccessfully attempted to save him, deputies said.

“This is heartbreaking, for anyone to lose a child, our thoughts are with the family at this time,” said Sheriff Tim Cook.

Investigators on scene determined the father, Jason McGovern, from Gaylord, was in the park with his children when his son fell into the river.

“This was a situation where one minute you know where your child is and the next, they’re gone. It’s so unfortunate,” said Cook.


The child’s mother, Brittany Zassadney, was not at the park at time but was notified and arrived shortly before he was taken to Otsego Memorial Hospital.

Assisting on scene was the Cheboygan County Dive Team, Tuscarora and Wolverine Fire Departments, Cheboygan Life Support Systems, Michigan State Police and the DNR.

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