The family of a St. Paul teenager who missing April 15 is preparing for funeral and burial costs after learning that 17-year-old Chuejee Thao jumped into the Mississippi River.
"It has been 3 weeks since my brother Chuejee has gone missing," the family of Thao said in a Tuesday update to a GoFundMe campaign. "About a week ago, we had suspicions that Chuejee ended up in the river. Finally, yesterday morning we received word from the police that they have confirmed Chuejee had in fact ended up in the river."
St. Paul police confirmed that they have video of Thao jumping into the river, with the family saying recovery efforts are now concentrated strictly on the Mississippi.
"We are leaving the GoFundMe open and increasing our goal to now cover funeral and burial expenses for my brother, Chuejee," says Pa Kou Thao in the update.
High water levels have impeded search efforts and that may continue to be the case until river levels drop.
"If his body is not recovered soon, we will also be contacting a drowned victims recovery specialist to aid in the search and recovery of my brother," Thao's family said Tuesday.
Thao was last seen April 15 on the Robert Street bridge. He was wearing a dark green zip-up hoodie, dark blue jeans, black shoes and carrying a black bag. He's 5-foot-6 and approximately 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
The online fundraiser for the Thao family has raised nearly $10,000.