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Man, 21, died at Eelpout Festival from CO poisoning

Sam Schooley was found unresponsive in a fish house on the final day of the event.
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The man whose body was found at the Eelpout Festival in northern Minnesota died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sam Schooley, 21, of Bemidji, was found unresponsive by friends in a fish house on the final morning of the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake, Feb. 25.

He was rushed to the Park Rapids Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Wednesday that the cause of death has been ruled as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The incident remains under investigation by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

According to his obituary from the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia, where he grew up, Schooley had been living and working in Bemidji since September.

"Sam loved to be in the outdoors, whether hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or 4-wheeling," it says. "He was happiest in nature. Sam enjoyed hanging with friends, listening to music and weightlifting."

The medical examiner's ruling confirmed what his family had suspected.

His father, Tom Schooley, told as much to WCCO last week, describing his son as "my best friend," and adding: "The trips that we took and the time that we spent together were, they were the best times I had."

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