Drowning victim was on first honeymoon - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Drowning victim was on her honeymoon

Posted: Apr 04, 2018 5:47 PM Updated:

49-year-old Melissa Murphy and her husband, Scott, spent this past weekend taking in beauty of the island. But, the unexpected occurred after the couple had been both swept out over the reef on Sunday. The end result - tragic - as Melissa drowned that day. Now, Scott is speaking out and honoring his wife of more than two decades.  

Married for 28 years and parents of three, Scott and Melissa Murphy came to Guam for the honeymoon they never had. Both being teachers and on Spring Break, it seemed like the perfect time. "We got married fairly young. I was 22, she was 20," Scott recalled fondly.

"We've never really took a honeymoon, and so we always said one of these years we're going to take a honeymoon and had an opportunity to come to Guam over our school's Spring Break, and that was our honeymoon," he continued.

For the past two years, the couple has been working as teachers at a private school in China. Originally both from the Kansas City area, they had wanted to visit somewhere tropical. Their first time to Guam, the couple arrived Friday evening. And after doing research online, they had planned to visit a popular spot known as Shark's Cove on Sunday.

"We had a very enjoyable walk out to that area and enjoyed the shallows and swam," he said.

But being unfamiliar with Guam's waters, they didn't anticipate what would happen next. Scott said, "We wanted to go out just a little bit further than we were and she wanted to look around the corner of this little point and what happened when we got out to that area is we got caught in the riptide. And it pulled us out into a big blue hole and when that happened, we were both trying to figure out which direction the current was taking us because it seemed to be kind of swirling and difficult to figure out from being in the water and we ended up in some heavier surf.

"The ride had taken us to some heavier surf and I was able to get in contact with her once or twice, but we kept getting separated because of the waves. And eventually I just lost contact with her completely and at that point, I just rolled over on my back. I was praying the whole time."

He continued to lay on his back and body surf as the waves pushed him back toward the shallows. Badly cut up by coral, Scott quickly ran to the shore for help. He said he, "Finally found a fisherman and he started calling 911 at that point, but by then it was too late."

After a search by the Guam Fire Department, the US Coast Guard, and the Navy's HSC-25 helicopter rescue squad, Melissa was found an hour later and airlifted to Naval Hospital. Sadly, she did not survive.

This was Melissa's final post on Facebook, in which she shared her excitement for Sunday's adventure... Now, her husband wants everyone to know the kind of person she was.

"I married a very special woman," he said. "She was just an incredibly loving person. She was just a very giving and caring person. She had a very radiant smile, beautiful dimples. Whenever she would walk in, other people wouldn't fear her. They weren't concerned about her presence, they enjoyed her presence being there. They enjoyed when she would come into the room. And countless times people have reminded me so many times God's used us to bless someone else or help someone else."

Murphy is thankful for the kind words he has received from others. He would especially like to thank Guam National Guard Chaplain, Pastor Rick Kelly, who has been there aiding him while here on Guam.

Murphy will be planning a memorial for Melissa sometime next week, when he returns to the states.

"There's a cross out at Shark's Cove," he said. "I don't know who put it back up...but whether they knew or not, it was special to me, to see that the cross was back up."

The grieving widower continued, "It's not easy, it's not a pleasant thing to go through, but the people of Guam have made it easier, not harder, which is a blessing."

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