Examiner: Body found in Mississippi River is missing student Jennifer Houle

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A body recovered from the Mississippi River Wednesday night is missing University of Minnesota student Jennifer Houle.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed the identity Thursday afternoon.

The cause of death was ruled as freshwater drowning, but the manner of death – how she went into the water – is still under investigation.

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.

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

Authorities had 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.

Houle's father, John Houle, told the Star Tribune he was sure it was his daughter, even before the medical examiner made an identification.

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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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