Body found in Mississippi River may be that of missing U of M student

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Hennepin County officials recovered the body of a woman from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, near where University of Minnesota student Jennifer Houle went into the water several days ago.

Water patrol found the body near the 10th Avenue bridge around 7 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

The sheriff's office did not say whether the deceased is Houle, noting the medical examiner is responsible for releasing her name after determining her cause of death.

However, Houle's father, John Houle, told the Star Tribune he is sure it is his daughter.

He went on to thank law enforcement officials for all of their work and for the "compassion" they showed his family over the last several days.

The search

Houle, 22, a senior at the U's Carlson School of Management and member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, went missing early Friday morning after going out with friends. She was last seen at a bar in Dinkytown between 1 and 2 a.m.

She was presumed dead after police said Monday they have video showing Houle entering the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue bridge shortly after she was last seen.

Authorities have been searching the river for several days.

A witness told the Pioneer Press they saw a body being recovered about 800 feet downriver from the 10th Avenue bridge, under the pedestrian bridge that connects the university's East and West banks.

Police have said it's unclear whether Houle fell off the 110-foot high bridge or if she jumped, noting that determination would come from the medical examiner.

Officials did say she was alone at the time and they are not seeking any suspects in the case.

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Since Houle went missing there has been an outpouring of support from the community to help find her. And on Tuesday night, about 1,000 people attended a vigil in Houle's honor on the U of M's campus.

Houle's family is planning a celebration of her life at the Northrop Auditorium on April 12, the Star Tribune notes.

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