Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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UPDATE: Body of second man on Lake Wissota pontoon recovered

Sheriff: It's still not known how man died on tube

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    The Chippewa Fire District, left, and Bruce’s Legacy, right, were two of the five search boats patrolling Lake Wissota on Monday near the hydro dam, looking for the body of 22-year-old Antonio Robinson of Minneapolis. Robinson and his friend, 50-year-old Travis Cramer, were last heard from at 3 p.m. Saturday. Cramer’s body was recovered Sunday afternoon near the dam. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

    Staff photo by Dan Reiland
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    Three of the five search boats came together as they were patrolling Lake Wissota near the dam on August 20, 2018. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

    Staff photo by Dan Reiland
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    Contributed photo

CHIPPEWA FALLS — The body of 22-year-old Antonio R. Robinson of Minneapolis was located in Lake Wissota on Tuesday morning, near the location where his friend, 50-year-old Travis W. Cramer of Coon Rapids, Minn., was removed from the lake on Sunday.

Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said that crews went out a little after 7 a.m. Tuesday, and that Robinson’s body was found, floating on the water, near the dam around 10 a.m.

Like with Cramer, there were no signs of injury or struggle, or any indication what caused the death of the two men. An autopsy will be performed. Kowalczyk said that Robinson’s family was notified.

“It’s very tragic,” Kowalczyk said. “It’s a situation where we’ll never know what happened, but it shows why life jackets are so important.”

Cramer’s pontoon was located Sunday morning, floating up against the shore. There was no damage to it, and all the men’s belongings were on board. Foul play is not suspected.

The two men were staying at the nearby O’Neil Creek Campground with friends. They sent a “selfie” picture sometime around 3 p.m. Saturday, with both men visible aboard Cramer’s pontoon. However, the text exchange with friends ended, and they didn’t respond after that.

“After 3 p.m., nobody knows what happened,” Kowalczyk said.

The pontoon, with no one on board, was found at 11:30 a.m. Sunday by the hydro dam. All of Robinson’s belongings — except his swim trunks — were located on the pontoon boat, Kowalczyk said.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, a worker at the dam spotted a buoy in the water and asked friends in a nearby boat to retrieve it. When the buoy was moved, Cramer’s body — wrapped in a rope — surfaced. Kowalczyk said there was no sign of struggle on the body.

Chippewa County coroner Ron Patten said he hasn’t determined a cause of death for Cramer.

“An autopsy was done (Monday) morning in Ramsey County (Minn.),” Patten said. “We don’t have results back. At this point, any of (the possible causes of death), we’re just not sure of.”

Toxicology screening was done, but Patten said those results likely won’t be back for two or three weeks.

Kowalczyk said multiple boats were on the water by the Rod & Gun Club and the dam on Monday, still searching for Robinson. 

The organization Bruce’s Legacy of Black River Falls, which has the latest in underwater sonar equipment, had two boats on the water. 

Kowalczyk said the state Department of Natural Resources and the Chippewa Fire District also had crews on the water. However, it was slow going, Kowalczyk added.

“Talking to the divers Sunday, they indicated they had difficulty seeing their hand in front of their face,” Kowalczyk said. “It is dark in color and cloudy. Without really good flashlights, it is very difficult to see anything.”

A dog on the pontoon was recovered at the scene. Anyone with tips or information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 715-726-7701.

Contact: chris.vetter@ecpc.com

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