Authorities recover body of Janesville man in Minnesota lake

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Saturday, June 18, 2011
— Authorities may never know how Ty Sitter of Janesville ended up in a lake while fishing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota, but it appears something happened quickly, Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk said.

When officials recovered Sitter’s body Thursday from the bottom of Swan Lake, he still had his sunglasses and hat on, Falk said.

“That just gives the appearance, once he hit the water, everything happened really fast,” Falk said.

Surface water on that day was 58 degrees, he said.

Sitter, 23, had been missing since Thursday, June 9, when he left his father, Mark, and brother, Scott, at their campsite near Grand Marais to go fishing. When he didn’t return, they found his canoe upright and unoccupied, with about 4 inches of water in it. His life jacket, tackle box and fishing net were there, but his fishing pole was missing.

The recovery ends a week of searching that at times was delayed because of the remote location and weather. Sonar detected the image of Sitter’s body Sunday, but the search was delayed until Tuesday, when St. Louis County brought a remote-controlled underwater vehicle.

Small whitecaps on the lake Tuesday contributed to an unsuccessful recovery, so authorities reorganized and entered the area Thursday prepared to stay up to three days, Falk said.

Authorities lost about three hours in the morning and three hours at night moving personnel and equipment back and forth from the area, he said. The lake is only accessible by canoe or portage and is about a two-and-a-half to three-hour paddle from the nearest entry to the Boundary Waters, he said.

Searchers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Forest Service and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue Squad pulled the body from the water about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Sitter’s body was in about 90 feet of water about 500 feet from shore.

An autopsy at the University of Minnesota-Duluth was being conducted Friday.

Sitter, son of Mark and Dawn of Twin Lakes, and his family had been coming up to the area for years, Falk said. They had arrived the day before Sitter disappeared, he said.

Sitter attended Wilmot High School, according to his Facebook page, and was engaged to Casiee Powell of Janesville.

Last updated: 5:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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