Wausau Pilot & Review

The body of a 20-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Sunday, one day after the man was reported missing.

Police were called Saturday afternoon to a Stevens Point home as the investigation began. Witnesses said the victim, identified as Cole Peterson, was last seen at about 2 a.m. Saturday in the 900 block of Main Street in Stevens Point.

Searchers including officers and Stevens Point Fire Department crews launched a search near where Peterson’s cell phone last pinged, around 2:15 a.m. on the west side of town, and used a drone to aid in the effort. A small area of open water was found near a channel in the Wisconsin River, west of Pfiffner Pioneer Park, and officers discovered shoe impressions leading to the spot.

The Marathon County Dive Team joined the search at about 9 a.m. Sunday, March 5 and divers located Peterson’s body. A positive identification has been made.

UWSP Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Al Thompson issued a statement Sunday evening expressing sympathy and comfort to Peterson’s friends and family. Thompson said Peterson, of Chaseburg, was studying natural resources and was a beloved member of the UWSP landscaping and grounds crew.

“It’s never easy to lose a member of the Pointer family, and Cole’s loss will be felt deeply by many,” Thompson’s statement read. “Few words can adequately convey our deepest sympathy to Cole’s parents, family and friends. Please be mindful of the privacy of family and friends during this difficult time.  

UWSP is providing resources to assist grieving students at the school. An investigation into the circumstances of Peterson’s death is ongoing.