Missing U of M student swept into Mississippi by wave, friend tells officers

Chris Stanley went into the Mississippi River Tuesday night, with people sharing updates and thoughts using #FindChris.
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A University of Minnesota student is missing after he and a friend got pulled into the Mississippi River Tuesday evening.

Chris Stanley, 22, was with a friend near Water Power Park around 8 p.m., according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The friend told officers he and Stanley had climbed a fence so they could sit along the river. But while on the banks, he said a big "wave" came by and swept them both into the water, and over St. Anthony Falls.

The friend managed to get himself to shore, but wasn't able to find Stanley, so called 911.

The Minneapolis Police Department police report detailing the incident is less clear. It just says the friend "went over the St. Anthony Falls" and thought Stanley went with him. But Stanley has been missing since.

His mother, Melissa Melnick, wrote on Facebook around 1:45 a.m. that Stanley was swept into the Mississippi River.

"So, I'm at home. Crying. Praying. Trying to be hopeful. The water's cold. He's a strong swimmer," the message reads. "So I ask you to pray for him, for those looking for him, for us, and for his friends who are awaiting his arrival at home, too."

Police with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board searched the shore that night, but didn't find anyone. And the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office told GoMN it's been involved in the water search.

A colleague said Stanley was clean-shaven and wearing a blue/green raincoat when he disappeared. His whereabouts aren't known, and Park Police are working with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office on the investigation.

The friend, also 22 years old, did have to get medical treatment, and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, authorities said. He, Stanley, and a third 22-year-old live at an apartment nearby St. Anthony Falls, the police report said.

'A standout individual'

University of Minnesota online records indicate Stanley is a bio science major. He is a member of the UMN's Mindfulness Club, and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group described Stanley as "a standout individual, a student and organizer with a passion for environmental, economic, and racial justice not only in his work on campus but in his community."

One student, Jordan Anderson, called Stanley "one of the most passionate and interesting people I've had the pleasure to get to know." On Twitter, people have been using #FindChris to share news and thoughts.

Faye Melnick, who says she is Stanley's grandmother, said on Facebook she is heartbroken, and thanked everyone for "the wonderful tributes to Chris and kind words to me and our family."

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