However, when he heard the official search for Corey McFry, 15, had been halted Monday night, Christy says that, as a parent, he just could not stop.
He continued his own search, and early Tuesday morning found the boy's body along the shore of Ogden Dunes.
Dean Christy says he did what any concerned citizen would have done. Christy said he wanted some answers for the family of Corey McFry. His personal search was inspired by the hope that it would ease the pain of not knowing what happened to McFry.
A beautiful sunrise Tuesday morning would give way to a tragic discovery and the news one family had hoped they would never have to hear.
"I called 911 and I said, 'I found the little boy,'" said Christy.
Christy is a father of three and an auxiliary member of the Coast Guard. He was not on duty when he found the body around 5 a.m. Christy was searching the area where McFry was last seen alive on Sunday, about 350 yards from the sandbar where the boy had been swimming.
"Just watching the way the current was moving, because there is a heavy current in Lake Michigan, and the winds had shifted and the waves were coming in from a northeast direction and I just decided there was a possibility that maybe Corey would be a little bit west of where he had been taken by the riptide," said Christy. "The first thing I said was a little prayer; I said that it might be a little relief for Corey's family"
Christy says he swims in Lake Michigan every morning during the summer and he knows the area well. After being awakened by the sound of helicopters early Monday morning, he wanted to do what he could to aid in the search.
"The Coast Guard, the Park Service, Porter County Fire Department, and Lake County Sheriff's Department, everybody worked together," said Christy.
Now, he is just hoping this latest drowning in Lake Michigan will serve as a lesson for everyone.
"With Corey's memory maybe we can bring a lot of awareness to the dangers of riptides, the dangers of this big body of water," said Christy.
Christy hopes to speak with the family of Corey McFry at some point. His actions represent a perfect example of an ordinary citizen doing an extraordinary deed to help a family he has never met.