Body of Missing Fla. College Student Found in Lake After Falling Off Boat: ‘Unfortunate Tragedy'

“We were hoping and praying that we were going to find him in good health,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno

The body of a college student who was reported missing on Wednesday night after he went boating has been recovered from a Florida lake, according to authorities.

Graham McGrath, a 19-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) student, was identified as the missing boater, according to a news release on social media from the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

“We were hoping and praying that we were going to find him in good health,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a press conference. “Unfortunately, that was not the case.”

Marceno said that investigators believe McGrath had fallen from a wake boat into Lake Como, which is located adjacent to the FGCU campus, around 7 p.m. on Wednesday while boating with friends.

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“I can tell you that they were swimming, they were recreating — as we want Floridians to do,” he said. “It’s a very, very unfortunate situation and accident.”

He noted that police do not suspect foul play at the time, but haven’t ruled it out. He said police are in the process of interviewing 13 other people who had been on the private boat with McGrath before his death.

Marceno said that McGrath’s body was found “intact” and there were “no physical signs of trauma” visible on his body. The official cause of his death is still pending.

“We don’t know if someone had a medical event,” Marceno said. “We don’t know exactly what we’re faced with but we will know those answers.”

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The Lee County Sheriff's Office announced on Wednesday night that it had launched a search for a missing boater in Como lake, located between Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club and FGCU on Wednesday night. Police said dive teams, a helicopter, marine boats and drones were initially deployed in the search.

On Thursday morning, deputies utilized a side-scan sonar, which is used to detect & image objects on the lake floor, and his body was announced to have been found hours later.

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Following Lee County Sheriff's Office’s announcement that McGrath’s body had been found, FGCU President Aysegul Timur issued a statement.

“The entire FGCU community is devastated by the loss of Graham,” Timur wrote in a statement posted on social media. “Our hearts and deepest sympathy go out to Graham’s family, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, his friends and all members of our Eagle community as we cope with this unfortunate tragedy.”

Timur added that on-campus student resources are available, including Counseling and Psychological Services, which are accessible without an appointment as well as Student CARE Services.

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