Bruce Copenhaver


A body was found Thursday morning in the Minnesota River after a 62-year-old boater went missing Monday morning.

At 7:42 a.m. Thursday, a body was located in the Minnesota River, approximately 500 yards from the location of the unoccupied boat that was found near Belle Plaine on Sept. 2, a release from the Scott County Sheriff's Office stated Wednesday.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that search efforts were ongoing for the missing boater whose unoccupied boat was located Monday on the Minnesota River near Belle Plaine. The missing boater was identified as Bruce Copenhaver, 62, of Watertown.

Family members told law enforcement that Copenhaver left home to go fishing between approximately 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Copenhaver’s boat, a 2002 Lund 17-foot open boat with a 60 horsepower Evinrude tiller-style motor, was found running and unoccupied near the shoreline at approximately 10:50 a.m. Monday. Copenhaver’s brown 2015 Ford F-150 truck and boat trailer were also located at the Minnesota River boat landing in Belle Plaine.

“We have multiple agencies searching the shoreline, in the water on boats with sonar technology, and also have a dive team on hand,” said Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen. “We know Mr. Copenhaver’s family is very concerned and we are doing everything we can to locate him.”

After Thursday's body recovery, positive identification and an official cause of death will be made by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Scott County Sheriff's Office is investigating. At this time, no foul play is suspected, according to Thursday's release.

Sheriff Hennen offered his sincere gratitude to partner agencies that assisted in this extensive search.

Reach Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8567 or follow him on Twitter @EditorPhilipWeyhe.

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