Local News

Search for missing WSU student focuses on Mississippi River

Search for missing WSU student focuses on Mississippi River

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) - The search for a missing Winona state student is now focusing on the Mississippi River.

Dive teams have been on the river since last Tuesday, looking for 19-year-old Ben Onyeaghala.

According to the Winona County Sheriff's department, Onyeaghala was last seen on a security camera overlooking a university boat on the Winona Levee.

The camera captured a brief moment of Onyeaghala walking down the side walk along the river around midnight on Friday October 7th.

But what happened beyond the camera's lens, remains a mystery.

"There was a boat tied up here and a gentleman was sleeping on his boat, a large boat, he got awoken when somebody came on board the boat," said Ron Ganrude with the Winona County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities believe the man who came on the boat, may possibly fit Onyeaghala's description.

"He talked to the man, and he asked him to get off of his boat and a while later then the boat owner heard a splash," said Ganrude.

They say this splash, may serve as a clue in this investigation.

"That person could have been Ben, probably was Ben, and may have fallen into the water," he said.

Fifteen volunteer search members were on the water Monday including Bruce's Legacy, a volunteer organization providing search and recovery operations for drowned victims. They say their search has covered 100 yards away from shore but they say even with advanced technology, they're facing a few challenges in the process.

 "The problem is with the body it could lodge against the logs, the rocks and things so then it's very time consuming, we have to just analyze all the images we have, you guys have got tremendous amount of logs," said Keith Cormican, founder of Bruce's Legacy.

But despite those challenges, authorities and search members are determined.

"We won't stop until we find him," said Ganrude.

According to the Sheriff's department, the boat owner found two spots of blood on his boat the next morning, but authorities say they have no reason to believe foul play was involved in this case at this time.

Top Videos

Latest News

This Week's Circulars