Body of missing Florida student is found in college campus lake

Graham McGrath’s body was recovered from Florida Gulf Coast University campus lake after 12-hour overnight search

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 24 August 2023 23:03 BST
Police give update after discovery of missing college student’s body

The body of a missing Florida Gulf Coast University student has been recovered from a lake on the campus, authorities say.

Graham McGrath, 19, fell from a wake boat into Lake Como, 30 miles south of Fort Myers, at around 7pm on Wednesday, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told a news conference.

His body was found on Thursday after a 12-hour overnight search, Sheriff Marceno said.

McGrath did not have any visible signs of physical trauma, and his cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner, he added.

Thirteen other people were onboard the boat when McGrath fell overboard, the sheriff said. The group had been “having fun enjoying themselves” prior to the accident, the sheriff said.

All 13 were being interviewed independently on the night of the accident. The wake boat had a capacity of 16 people.

The body of missing Florida Gulf Coast University student Graham McGrath, 19, has been recovered from a lake on the campus

A multi-agency rescue effort consisting of dive teams, helicopter, marine boats, and drones were deployed to search for the missing teenager on Wednesday night.

When daylight broke on Thursday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department’s Marine Unit & Underwater Operations used a boat with side-scan sonar to search the lake bed for McGrath.

Sheriff Marceno confirmed McGrath’s body had been found in a statement on social media at around midday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Graham’s family and the entire FGCU family,” he said.

The circumstances of his death are under investigation.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno addresses a news conference during a search for missing student Graham McGrath

In a statement, Florida Gulf Coast University president Aysegul Timur said the “entire FGCU community” was devastated by McGrath’s death.

“It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the passing of Graham McGrath, the FGCU student who tragically went missing yesterday afternoon while on a private boat on the shared lake between the university and Miromar Lakes.”

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announces the discovery of Florida Gulf Coast University student Graham McGrath’s body

Ms Timur thanked the Lee County Sheriff Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Iona-McGregor Fire District, San Carlos Park Fire District and the university’s police department for their efforts in locating the student.

Counseling services were available to grieving students and taff, she said.

“During this time of great heartbreak and grief, FGCU wants to help our students, faculty and staff the best that we can. We encourage everyone to seek the assistance they need.”

McGrath died one week before his 20th birthday.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in