ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A search for missing St. Cloud State University student Jesse Dady may be over Friday night, after Stearns County divers recovered a body in the Mississippi River shortly after 6 p.m., officials said.
Stearns County Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold said officials believe the body to be Dady, but will wait for official confirmation from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office. An autopsy could be completed in the next several days.
Dady, 21, was last seen in surveillance video early March 25 walking out onto the railroad bridge over the Mississippi behind Empire Apartments in downtown St. Cloud. Police believe Dady fell from the bridge into the river.
The body was recovered at 6:21 p.m. south of the Veterans Bridge.
The development comes the same day Dady's family retained a Hermantown company to continue searching for any signs of Dady. The private company used sonar to identify a search area near the Bridge. The Stearns County dive team was called to examine the area late Friday afternoon.
The St. Cloud Fire Department assisted Crossman Consulting as they searched Friday afternoon.
Stearns County divers spent 10 hours Thursday searching two areas identified by sonar equipment as areas that may contain Dady's remains. The search turned up nothing, and the county hadn't planned to continue its river search after Thursday, Bechtold said.
He said that sonar used early in the week had cleared the area between the railroad bridge and Veterans Bridge, with the exception of the two spots divers examined Thursday. Officials postponed the river search until investigators had more specific information about where to search, he said.
The surveillance video, shot from a camera behind Empire Apartments, shows Dady walking east on the bridge deck out over the water. Darkness and the trees between the camera and Dady make it difficult to see exactly what happened to Dady.
About one-third of the way across the bridge there are "some indicators that Dady may have fallen," and he isn't seen on the video after that, according to Assistant Police Chief Jeff Oxton.