Missing man found drowned in a swamp near railyard

Jack Cotrell hadn't been seen in more than three weeks.
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The body found in a railyard near Duluth was that of a suspected copper thief who hadn't been seen for more than three weeks.

Jack Cotrell, 52, of Superior, Wisconsin, was found dead in a swampy area adjacent the Canadian National railyard in Proctor on Tuesday.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said he drowned in a narrow creek, with the discovery made after his family set up an appeal for information via Facebook, which said he had been missing since Oct. 1.

And it has emerged that the last people to see him alive were three suspected accomplices who, on the night of Oct. 1, allegedly joined him to burglarize the railyard, the sheriff's office said.

A Canadian National employee reported trespassers that night and when police arrived they found copper wire had been stolen, but nobody on the scene.

The sheriff's office this past Sunday tracked down Cotrell's suspected accomplices, but they hadn't seen him since the theft and told police he was most likely still in the area of the railyard.

There is no evidence of foul play in his death with drowning listed as the preliminary cause, though toxicology results are still pending.

A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for his funeral expenses.

The Facebook appeal page says Cotrell was unmarried, but he was a father and a brother.

The first post on the page said it was "extremely out of character for him to just go absent without contacting his children or family or friends," noting he left behind his keys, his bikes, his belongings and a cellphone.

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