A 22-year-old Minneapolis man’s body was found in Lake Wissota about 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The sheriff’s department used drones to find the body of Antonio R. Robinson near the hydroelectric dam. It is the same location where the body of 50-year-old Travis W. Cramer of Coon Rapids, Minn., was found Sunday afternoon.
Authorities are unsure how the two men died, Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said Tuesday. Due to a lack of witnesses, the incident may remain a mystery.
It is “highly suspected that they died of drowning,” Kowalczyk said. “But until the autopsies are finished, toxicology (reports) come back, there’s been nothing official.”
Cramer’s autopsy was completed Monday, and Robinson’s is expected to be conducted within days, Kowalczyk said.
Law enforcement found Cramer’s body Sunday afternoon and identified him Monday. They searched for Robinson Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning before finding the 22-year-old second victim.
Robinson and Cramer were believed to have been camping during the weekend before both men disappeared.
There were no signs of struggle or foul play.
Drones were instrumental in finding Robinson Tuesday, Kowalczyk said.
While waiting for Bruce’s Legacy divers to enter the water with equipment, two sheriff’s department drones noticed something suspicious near the hydroelectric dam.
Windy conditions cut the drones’ battery life from 20 minutes to 13, making multiple drone trips necessary.
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About 9 a.m. one of the drone pilots saw a suspected body, and a boat team identified the man as Robinson.
Only one person has come forward with information, making the crime hard to solve, Kowalczyk said.
A woman told the sheriff’s department she was en route to popular swimming spot Ray’s Beach when she saw the pontoon floating unattended nearby, followed by a rubber tube, around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Kowalczyk said. Many people anchor their boats to swim in the area.
A dog that was also seen in the pontoon with Cramer and Robinson is at the Chippewa County Humane Association. Robinson’s family, who traveled to the area Monday and were present at Lake Wissota Tuesday, were planning to pick up the dog, Kowalczyk said.
“It’s really ironic is that again, we may never know what may have happened if we didn’t have any witnesses,” Kowalczyk said. “This might be one of those cases (where) forensics will tell us what was the cause of death, and what, when and how may never be determined.”
A caller reported a lone pontoon resting on the shoreline north of the hydroelectric dam on Lake Wissota 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The caller reported seeing a black male and a white male launch the boat, along with a dog, according to a police dispatch report.
Deputies did not find anyone with the pontoon.
A rubber tube was reported near the dam about 1 p.m. Sunday, Cramer’s body attached to the tube by a rope.
The sheriff’s department believes the incident may have happened early Saturday evening.