The search for a missing college student at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, has come to a poignant end. The UNF Spinnaker reports that the body of 20-year-old George Louissaint Jr. was found in a retention pond near an apartment complex early Saturday morning.
At around 9:41 a.m. on February 18, a person walking their dog noticed something peculiar floating in the pond and immediately alerted police. When emergency medical services arrived at the scene, a body was discovered partially submerged under water.
A dive team with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office recovered the body from the bond. It was later confirmed that the body was that of the missing UNF student, who was last seen on Sunday, February 12 – just five days before his birthday.
Investigators say the student’s body appeared to have been underwater for quite some time.
A slew of text messages sent from Louissaint suggests that he may have committed suicide, but police officials have yet to uncover the UNF student’s cause of death.
On the morning Louissaint was last seen alive, he was allegedly intoxicated after attending a rambunctious party, which had to be shut down by police, and was seen walking to his apartment home at Osprey Falls.
His roommate stated that he left the party upset, possibly over an issue with his girlfriend, Tesha Fleming, and told him that “you might not see me tomorrow.”
At around 2:32 a.m., Louissaint reportedly sent a message to his sister, which stated as follows.
“I love you…I love you, I am going to end it tonight.”
Not long after those messages, it was alleged that Louissaint was seen darting into a wooded area near Glen Kernan subdivision and Kernan Boulevard.
The UNF student’s family feared that he may be a threat to himself and immediately filed a missing person report.
Police officials say as many as 150 people congregated to help find the missing college student, searching “14 square miles and 27 bodies of water” but were unable to find any leads.
Over 2,000 fliers were passed around town with the help of family and friends, who were all hopeful of Louissaint’s safe return.
After nearly a weeks-long search, Louissaint’s body was found in a pond by a passerby.
“I’m happy that his body has been found for closure for his parents,” said Cynthia Butler-Jackson, who helped search for the missing college student. “Especially his mother. I hate the outcome. I kept my fingers crossed that he would be found alive, but like the father said, he was willing to accept whatever the Lord had designed.”
JSO Director of Investigations and Homeland Security Ron Lendvay stated that “any death investigation is going to get looked at like a homicide until something’s proven different.”
“At this point, there is no indication of foul play in the investigation. There was no obvious trauma that could be seen by investigators from our agency, UNF or the Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Lendvay went on to say that “the case does remain under investigation even though there is no sign of foul play at this time.”
Louissaint’s body was sent to a local medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, but the results will not be available until the middle of the week.
“My heart breaks for the community. I encourage students to take advantage of the resources that the university has for students that could prevent these situations,” said UNF police Chief Frank Mackesy.
He added that “the campus has set up grief counselors for students in Student Union Center in Building 58 East, Room 1100.”
“There are some unique environmental conditions related to this pond that could create false positives or false negatives,” Lendvay stated.
At around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, a candlelight vigil will be held for the missing student found dead in a pond at Osprey Plaza – UNF’s student union.
Louissaint was reportedly a native of Hollywood. After graduating from Charles W. Flanagan High School, he matriculated at the University of Mobile – where he met his girlfriend – and joined their track team.
After two years, Louissaint transferred to the University of Florida.
Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are investigating the UNF student’s death.
[Featured Image by Weenee/iStock]