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Alcohol believed to be a factor in death of UMD student who fell into ravine

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Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the death of a 22-year-old University of Minnesota Duluth student, who was found dead in a creek near campus over the weekend.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says it appears Kyle Noble, of Baudette, was walking on a trail near Chester Creek when he accidentally fell 75 feet into a ravine near East Eighth Street.

Investigators say he had been drinking when he left a relative's house to walk home around 2 a.m. Saturday. A hiker found his body Saturday afternoon.

“We believe alcohol was a factor,” Sgt. Claire Olson told the Duluth News Tribune. “He had frequently walked on those trails. But it was dark, it had been raining and it was very slippery.”

Noble's cause of death is still pending, but police believe he died as a result of head trauma from the accidental fall, the sheriff's office notes. Foul play is not suspected.

The area near the creek has a history of injuries and fatalities, with some involving UMD students who use the trail to get from campus to Fourth Street, the Duluth News Tribune notes. At least two UMD students have died after falling into the creek; they both were found to be intoxicated.

“It’s been a problem for years, since I’ve lived here. People falling, people jumping – college kids with too much to drink. You see all of the firetrucks on the bridge, and you say ‘oh my gosh, not again’,” Mike Hampston, who has lived in the area for 20 years, told KBJR 6.

Noble was a senior at UMD studying mechanical engineering, who graduated from Lake of the Woods High School in Baudette in 2011, reports note.

Memorial services will be held Saturday at 1o a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baudette, with a visitation scheduled for Friday night at the church, according to Helgeson Funeral Home.

This is the latest tragedy to strike the small northern Minnesota community. Last month, three Baudette men went missing while boating on Lake of the Woods. The bodies of Cody Ostendorf, 24, and Justin Haugtvedt, 22, have been recovered, while Keith Ayers, 28, is still missing, the Duluth News Tribune says.

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