UMD Student Remembered After his Body is Discovered in Minnesota Slip
Jacob Lavoie's body was found in the Minnesota Slip almost a week after he went missing.
DULUTH, Minn.- Authorities confirm that the body pulled from the Minnesota Slip in Canal Park Friday afternoon was that of missing UMD student Jacob Lavoie.
It’s barely been a week since loved ones last saw Lavoie at Grandma’s Sports Garden.
After days of searching for Lavoie and learning of his untimely death, his friends and the community are speaking out.
“We don’t want to dwell on his sadness forever, but we want to celebrate his life and everything, all the memories we’ve had with him we just want to cherish and hold onto forever,” Josh Ennis said.
It’s been a tough day for friends and family of Jacob Lavoie after learning their loved one was found dead in Duluth’s Minnesota Slip.
“At first it was just shock, just shock right away. I didn’t know what i was expecting, just because it’s been so long. I thought i was going to be ready for it and i just wasn’t,” Ennis said.
Josh Ennis was a long time friend of Lavoie’s.
He wishes there was a different outcome, but says he’s grateful to see all the work law enforcement put into finding his friend.
“One of these is too common, or one of these is too many,” Sgt. Brandon Sligjorg said.
The St. Louis County Sheriff’s office says water rescues like Lavoie’s are rare.
“When they do happen we have a very highly trained staff of rescue squad personnel, as well as licensed staff and equipment to go out and usually resolve these quickly when we know that there’s water involved,” Sligjorg said.
They say they were lucky to find Lavoie after getting a tip that his body was near the slip.
Using sonar technology and an underwater vehicle, they retrieved the 21–year–old’s body.
“We have a lot of water just in the canal and in the harbor to search, so once we were able to narrow that down, that tip really was a ton of assistance to us,” Sligjorg said.
Although any change in rules or laws when it comes to water safety in Canal Park is ultimately up to the city of Duluth, authorities hope that Lavoie’s story makes people more aware.
“Water is dangerous. It’s a great thing, obviously we need it. We love to play in it, but we’ve got to use caution around it and just be cognizant when we are around it,” Sligjorg said.
Ennis agrees. Moving forward, he says he wants to be safer.
“Things are going to be different now and we’re going to have to really look out for each other because can change really quick in the blink of an eye and a lot of times they won’t change for the better in some situations, so we’ve just really got to have each other’s back up here from now on,” Ennis said.
There is no official word yet on Lavoie’s cause of death.
His body was transferred to the Midwest medical examiner’s officer for autopsy results.
For link to donate to a GoFundMe for the Lavoie family, click here.