Clarkson student's body found in river, identified

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May 8—POTSDAM — The body of a Clarkson University student reported missing in the Raquette River on Friday was discovered Saturday afternoon by New York State Police divers.

On Monday afternoon, Clarkson University identified the student as Justin Howard, Greensboro Bend, Vt., Mr. Howard was an aerospace engineering student set to graduate in December.

The student was reported missing by friends at 2:06 a.m. Friday, according to a Potsdam Police Department news release. The student was reportedly swimming in the river.

Multiple police and rescue agencies searched Friday and Saturday with boats above and below the dam and from the Maple Street bridge.

Traffic in the village was congested all day Friday due to the bridge being closed.

Police are abiding by a request from the student's family and have not released a name or any other details of the incident.

University President Marc P. Christensen delivered a message to the Clarkson community after the body was recovered and before his identity was revealed.

"It is with heavy hearts that we write to share that the student who was reported missing by friends shortly after 2 a.m. on Friday morning has been found deceased." President Christensen wrote.

He said the university had been providing support for the first responders conducting the search and to close friends of the student.

Counseling has been made available for students, staff and faculty on campus, he said. Faculty has been advised to be flexible with students concerned about exams.

"The Clarkson community will continue to support the family of our student during this difficult time, and we will share more information as it becomes available. Please continue to hold their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers," President Christensen said.

Greg Thompson, village administrator, addressed the issue on Facebook Monday morning.

"Well after what has been a very hectic past few days, it is with tremendous sorrow, yet great relief, the Village announces that we were able to locate the missing individual in the area of the Maple Street bridges," Mr. Thompson wrote. "State Police divers recovered the missing person late Saturday afternoon. Although the ending is not one of joy and happiness, we know that the family can now have closure and the young person involved can go home."

Agencies involved in the search included the Potsdam Police Department, Potsdam Fire Department, Potsdam Volunteer Rescue Squad, Canton Fire Department, Massena Rescue, Parishville Fire and Rescue, Hannawa Falls Fire Department, Hogansburg Akwesasne Fire Department, St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, state police, state forest rangers, Department of Environmental Conservation police, the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services and Franklin County Emergency Services.

"I want to personally thank everyone who played a part in this recovery: Potsdam PD, Potsdam FD, Clarkson University, Hannawa Falls FD, Massena Dive Team, Awkwesasne Dive Team, NYS Forest Rangers, NYS DEC, NYS Fire, NYS Troopers Underwater Recovery Team, SLC Emergency Services, SLC Sheriff's Office and anyone else I might be forgetting," Mr. Thompson's statement continued. "It was a total team effort and without each and every one of you we would probably not have had the outcome we got. Events like this help us to realize how blessed we are to have these individuals in our North Country. The water is extremely cold, the volume and shear velocity of the water is very high at this time. Needless to say conditions were much less than ideal for the mission we all faced. Events like this take a toll on everyone involved. Please know that the Village Trustee's and Administration can never say thank you enough for all you did. And to our citizens, I want to say an equally large thank you. You showed great patience in how this event affected your travel and daily routines. You gave us space to do what needed to be done and as always showed a great deal of class and respect to the family and first responders. Once again, let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone."