Scott County authorities were searching the Minnesota River Monday, Sept. 2 after they were dispatched to a report of a boat found running near shoreline.

The body found in the Minnesota River near Belle Plaine on Sept. 5 was that of 62-year-old Watertown resident Bruce Copenhaver, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said late Sunday.

The body was located at 7:42 a.m. on Sept. 5 about 500 yards from where Copenhaver’s unoccupied boat was found on Labor Day. The boat’s discovery sparked a three-day search for a missing boater.

According to the examiner’s office, the cause of death was probable drowning. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating, but no foul play is suspected.

Family members said Copenhaver left home to go fishing between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Sept. 2.

His boat, a 2002 Lund 17-foot open boat, was found running and unoccupied near the shoreline at approximately 10:50 a.m. Monday. Copenhaver’s truck and boat trailer were also located at the Minnesota River boat landing in Belle Plaine.

In a Sept. 5 news release, Sheriff Luke Hennen thanked state agencies and local sheriff’s offices and city departments that assisted in the search.


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