‘Everybody loved her’: Family stands vigil on beach as recovery mission for 29-year-old continues


Brittany Young (photo from Brittany’s mother, Maria Repko)

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HURON, Ohio -- A mother's grief goes beyond description.  "My daughter is my sunshine. She is my life, my everything," Maria Repko says as she watches the water of Lake Erie churning and turning.

Her daughter, Brittany Young, is under the surface somewhere.

The 29-year-old Vermilion woman, her husband, Matthew, and a friend went to Nickel Plate Beach in Huron for the afternoon on Sunday.

Brittany Young (photo from Brittany's mother, Maria Repko)

They took a dip in the rough water and Brittany got stuck in a current she couldn't escape. She was swept under.

"We were texting like we always do... With the pictures you could tell they were just out there having fun."

Repko says the photos of the  water didn't look rough, but then that evening, "I got a phone call that she had been sucked under the water. "

Repko hasn't left the beach since.

She watches as search crews go back and forth looking for Brittany's body.

"I want the waters to release her back to me."

People from around here say the currents off Nickel Beach are notoriously dangerous. Rip currents rise out of nowhere.

Two weeks ago, an 18-year-old man drowned in nearly the same spot, sucked under trying to rescue some children who were struggling.

Brittany's husband tried to save her. Anyone within shouting distance ran to help. Sixty-two emergency workers responded. A handful resumed that search Tuesday as a mother watches and waits.

"They decided to come here and just enjoy some sun and water and this is the outcome that is tearing me apart here."

Repko says the outpouring of support from family and the Huron community is holding her up. One person has given her a cottage to use until this is over. Others have brought chairs and food and a cooler.

"Our entire family has been here constantly since Sunday showing their love. My daughter would be so happy," Repko says as she tries to choke back tears. "She really would be so happy. Everybody loved her. Everybody loved her. "

**Continuing coverage, here**

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