Officials release additonal information regarding DSU studentsThe stock pond where the bodies of three missing Dickinson State University students were discovered Tuesday afternoon is located approximately 3/4 of a mile north of 31st Street SW and 117th Avenue SW in Stark County, officials said during a press conference early this morning.
The stock pond where the bodies of three missing Dickinson State University students were discovered Tuesday afternoon is located approximately 3/4 of a mile north of 31st Street SW and 117th Avenue SW in Stark County, officials said during a press conference early this morning.
The pond was on private property, officials said.
"The area that we're talking about is a farming community," said Clarence Tuhy, Stark County sheriff. "It's like an alfalfa field or hay field with a dugout which would be a pond. The pond was about 10 feet deep." The owner said the pond was about five or six years old and this probably one of the few years it was a full dam, Tuhy said.
Tuhy said the 1997 Jeep was on its wheels in the water and vehicle doors and windows were all shut.
"I did personally drive out there this morning about 2:30 or 3 to kind of view it driving with a pickup which is probably a little bit bigger than what the Cherokee was," Tuhy said. "The viability, and of course it's dark and when you're not familiar with an area like that, it would have been very easy to drive into the pond."
Kyrstin Gemar, 22, Ashley Neufeld, 21, and Afton Williamson, 20, who all played softball for DSU, were missing and last heard from Sunday night.
Officials found tracks leading into the stock pond at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. At about 4:10 p.m., the Dickinson Dive and Rescue Team discovered a vehicle submerged. The vehicle, which was Gemar's, was pulled from the pond. At 4:29 p.m., the bodies of the three missing woman and a deceased dog were located and identified inside the vehicle.
The incident is under investigation and officials say an autopsy will be done, with results to be returned in a week or two.
DSU President Richard McCallum said classes have been canceled today and services are being offered to students, faculty and staff.
"This is a very sad day for all of us," McCallum said. "Our hearts and sympathies go to the families."
A memorial service is being planned for the three and is tentatively set for Thursday, though McCallum said the location, time and date has not yet been set.