DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — The body of a man missing since Saturday, Aug. 8, was recovered Monday, Aug. 10, from Little Detroit Lake, according to Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander.
The victim was identified as Abdimajid Osman Nur of Moorhead, according to the sheriff's office Monday.
Nur's body was found shortly after 1 p.m. Monday by members of the Becker County Dive Rescue Team, about 200 or more yards out from City Beach in 11-12 feet of water, Glander said. The recovery occurred pretty much right in the middle of the search area, but visibility there is poor once divers get down 5 or 6 feet, which made the search difficult, Glander said.
“Support from the community was outstanding,” Glander said. “I know the family wished to extend their thank you to the community. They said the people of Detroit Lakes have been very supportive to them.”
The search was a team effort involving a lot of different agencies, including sheriff’s officers from Otter Tail, Clay and Mahnomen counties, Valley Water Rescue, the Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota State Patrol, and a number of private citizens who helped in a variety of ways.
It was a long couple of days, but “it’s a good feeling knowing the family has recovered their loved one,” Glander said.
Cani Adan, a community leader and chairman of the Moorhead Human Rights Commission, said Nur was in his early 20s and came to the United States seven or eight years ago as a refugee from Somalia.
Adan was at the Detroit Lakes City Beach on Sunday holding vigil with family members and a dozen or so other Somali-Americans from Moorhead.
Adan said Nur and another man rented an inflatable canoe on the City Beach, and were out about 200 yards when Nur went into the water to swim. He was not wearing a life jacket, but knows how to swim and is in good physical shape, Adan said.
“He’s one of our youth. He always loves playing soccer and working out at the gym — exercising,” he added.
At one point while in the water, Nur told the other man that he was getting tired, Adan said. The canoe somehow ended up capsized.
“It was the last time the one who went in for a swim was seen,” Glander said Sunday. The possible drowning was reported at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Adan said Nur’s family puts his age at 22. The Becker County Sheriff’s Office has Nur born in 1996 and put his age at 24 on Sunday, after correcting it upward from 23.
Documentation can be difficult in the case of refugee families: Adan himself is originally from Somalia and sought refuge in the United States after escaping his war-torn country. An avid and talented soccer player, Adan was beaten, tortured and ripped away from his family when the militant Islamic group Al-Shabaab ruled that playing and watching the sport was prohibited. With his life in danger, Adan made the trip to the United States, according to a 2017 newspaper story by Tracy Briggs in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
Law enforcement officers and volunteers searched the area Saturday with boats, divers and a drone operated by the sheriff’s office. Boats were on the scene all night, and divers resumed Sunday morning.
On Sunday, deputies were joined by DNR officers, and the Becker County Dive Rescue Team was joined by a Valley Water Rescue team from Fargo-Moorhead, Glander said. “They are bringing in divers and a boat,” he added.
An airplane circled overhead to help the search. It was piloted by a local volunteer who prefers to remain anonymous, Glander said.
Stormy weather overnight and cloudy weather Sunday morning has made the search more difficult. “Calm and sunny weather would have helped,” Glander said.
Searchers were able to pretty accurately mark with buoys the area where the swimmer went under, said Becker County Deputy Sid Canham, who is on the Becker County Dive Rescue team.
“The problem is it’s shallow water, and very weedy,” he said. “It interferes with our electronics,” and makes the search more difficult, he added.
On Saturday, divers did pattern searches, basically circular searches of an area where sonar showed the need for a closer look.