Official search suspended for man who went missing in Mississippi River


Officials have officially suspended their search for a Ramsey man who went missing after driving his car into the Mississippi River more than a week ago, according to reports.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office told the Star Tribune Saturday that the case remains open, but they stopped searching Thursday night after surface and sonar efforts failed to find Travis Benjamin's body.

Benjamin, 39, went missing on April 4 after his SUV went into the river. Witnesses say the vehicle drove through a yard behind a home and, after stopping for a moment at the edge of the river, it drove down the bank. Authorities believe entering the river may have been the driver's intent.

When officers arrived, Benjamin was lying unresponsive on the vehicle, but as a rescue team entered the river he fell into the water.

Another man was rescued from the SUV. Authorities said he appeared intoxicated. He's been released from the hospital, but friends say he doesn't recall the incident, the Star Tribune says.

Ramsey Police say Benjamin is presumed dead, WCCO reports. But his friends continue to search the shoreline for some closure, the Star Tribune says. They are focusing their search on a 7-mile stretch of the river from Ramsey south to the Coon Rapids Dam, according to the newspaper.

“It’s tough,” Jess Crassweller, a college friend of Benjamin, told the Star Tribune. “People are frustrated. They want resolution one way or another.”

Benjamin's parents, Shirley and Clemons Bak, who came to Minneapolis last week from Atlanta after their son went missing, told the newspaper they appreciate the continued effort from friends and strangers to find him.

“We’re anxious for a resolution,” Clemens Bak told the paper. “As long as he’s missing, there’s no resolution.”

The family says once his body is found they'll plan a military service. Friends told KARE 11 that Benjamin was a graduate of St. Cloud State University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was working for the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

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