Community Saddened by UMD Student's Death

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 07, 2019 11:14 PM

The community is sad and distraught with the way things unfolded for 21-year-old UMD student Jacob Lavoie after Duluth Police confirmed that the body found in the Minnesota Slip Friday was his. 


“All the times I talked to him he was nice, super friendly and I think everyone would say the same,” said Gavin McCloskey, a former roommate of Jacob.

“It’s unfortunate that it had to happen at all. I feel terrible for the family and we're heartbroken. It’s a very sad situation,” said Madeline Eldred, a UMD student.

Lavoie’s body will be transferred to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office where the cause of death will be determined pending autopsy results.

Community members said this is a tragic end to a six day search of Lavoie. McCloskey lived with Jacob at one point in a Duluth duplex they shared with friends. McCloskey said although they didn't talk too much, he had good interactions with him.

“He was just a good guy, a good person. Never one to cause an issue at the house,” said McCloskey.

Duluth Police discovered Lavoie’s body Friday after getting a tip that led them to focus searching for him in the bay by the Minnesota Slip area.

“Never would you think that they’d be pulling his body from the lake,” said McCloskey.

The Minnesota Slip is a close distance from Grandma's Sports Garden, the last place Jacob was seen on Sept. 1.

"I walk home from that bar all the time so it’s sad to think about yourself in a scenario like that,” said McCloskey.

“Honestly, I feel somewhat survivor's guilt. I happened to be there that night that he went missing at Grandma’s. I just think that could have been me, that could have been anyone,” said Eldred.

Although Eldred said she didn't personally know Jacob, she said his death hits close to home to everyone in the UMD community.

“Either way, he’s still a UMD student and we're all kind of tight knit here,” said Eldred.

Community members laid flowers on the docks along the Minnesota Slip to honor Jacob's memory, a young man who was almost done with school and surely had a bright future ahead of him.

To support the Lavoie family with funeral expenses, click here.


Alejandra Palacios

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