By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Daily News
Grief counselors will be available Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Chimacum Middle School for those who knew 11-year-old Lindsey Mustread.
The counselors will be available from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Chimacum Middle School office, 91 W. Valley Road.
Although school is out for the summer, parents and families needing additional support also are welcome to call the middle school counseling office at 360-732-4090 ext. 250, Meissner said.
Meissner described the girl's mother, Brandy Boyd, as a “really involved mom” who makes time outside of her full-time job to volunteer at the school.
In addition to Lindsey and her 9-year-old brother, Kenneth, who was rescued after being caught in the riptide with his sister, Meissner said Boyd has a son, William Malcolmson, a senior at Chimacum High School.
“Our hearts are broken for Brandy and her family,” Meissner said.
“I just want Brandy to know that everyone in the community will do anything to help her through this horrible tragedy.”
Lindsey Mustread's body was found washed ashore Saturday morning about a mile south of where she had been wading off Bolstad Beach on the Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington.
The riptide pulled Lindsey and her little brother, Kenneth, 9, out to sea Thursday afternoon, but crews rescued him after he was dragged into the waves; “the fact that boy was still alive was absolutely a miracle,” Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright said.
“We're absolutely devastated over the loss of Lindsey,” Whitney Meissner, Chimacum High School principal, said as she prepared to lead a candlelight vigil at the school “for our sweet Chimacum girl who was lost to the Pacific Ocean.”
“This has hit our school and our community really, really hard. Our hearts are aching.”
Grief counselors are being mobilized. (See accompanying story.)
A girl who loved horses, outgoing, athletic and well-liked by her classmates, Lindsey would have entered the sixth grade this fall, Meissner said. The youngster had a new puppy.
Meissner issued an invitation to the community to join her at the candlelight vigil Saturday night at the flagpole in front of the Chimacum Schools' main campus, 91 West Valley Road.
“Please wear royal blue [Lindsey's favorite color], and if you have a candle, bring it,” Meissner said on her Facebook page. “We'll supply some as well.”
About 130 persons, many with children, were at the 30-minute vigil and shared thoughts and prayers for the Mustread family.
Meissner asked children to “tell your parents that you love them, and give them a big hug," then told parents they should do the same with their children — and, in discussing the tragedy, let the kids “take the lead on what they want to talk about, and when."
Had been beach camping
The girl's mother, Brandy Boyd, and father, Jeremy Mustread, Boyd's former husband who flew in from Illinois, identified the body as their daughter, Wright said.
The family plans to bring her back to Chimacum, Wright said, but he did not know when.
“There will be no autopsy,” the police chief added. “There's no reason to believe anything other than a drowning.”
Lindsey and Kenneth were camping with her mother and grandmother on the Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County, about 175 miles southwest of their home in Chimacum, for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The siblings were wading about 2 p.m. Thursday when the riptide started pulling them away from shore, authorities said.
The boy treaded water for more than 20 minutes, bobbing his head in and out of the waves before rescue crews, alerted by other beachgoers, found him in the surf.
“His sister had encouraged him to swim to shore — was the last thing he remembers before he was separated from his sister,” Coast Guard Lt. Scott McCrew told KATU-TV in Portland, Ore.
Kenneth was taken to Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco and had been discharged by Friday morning, Wright said.
“I understand he's doing quite well,” Wright said.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Jordan Akiyama said a 59-square-mile search for the girl using four boats and a helicopter was suspended Thursday night after seven hours.
Wright called it miraculous that the boy was found alive.
“The fact that boy was still alive after 20-plus minutes in the water was absolutely a miracle,” Wright said. “When they found him, nobody expected him to be alive.”
After the boy was taken from the water, a rescue swimmer tested the direction of the currents to get an idea of where the girl might be, Wright said.
“Within minutes” of getting in the water, “he was a hundred yards off shore,” Wright said. “The water was definitely sucking out.”
Surf rescue team leader Doug Knutzen said only the very top of the boy's face was out of the water when rescuers reached him.
Bill Thompson, a beachgoer who witnessed the rescue, said the waters in the spot were “deceiving.”
'If you go too far it's a sheer drop, and there's no way to get out of that especially when the winds blowing like it is, the water just rolls you” he told KATU-TV.
The website of a local newspaper, The Daily Astorian, reported Friday:
“Large numbers of summer visitors coupled with warm temperatures have set the stage for potential drownings as the Long Beach Peninsula gets set for the long July 4 holiday weekend.
“While the search for the girl continued, other families were permitting small children to play in the adjacent surf.
“Visitors to local beaches should be especially cautious when allowing children into the surf, as rip tides and sneaker waves make the ocean considerably dangerous.”
Wright said between two and three swimmer rescues are done each year in the strong currents and cold waters off Long Beach, which lies about 6 miles north of the mouth of the Columbia River.
“We have such dangerous rip tides here,” Wright said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.