One year later, family still seeks answers

Chelsie Hanstad

A year after his disappearance, and seven months after his body was found in the Mississippi River, Chris Jenkins’ family still hopes for answers.

“They still strongly feel someone is out there that knows something,” said Jenkins’ aunt Carol Koness, speaking on behalf of the immediate family members, who were out of town this week. “We’re hoping and praying that someone does come forward with any information.”

Jenkins, a University senior, was last seen walking on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge on Oct. 31, 2002, said Sgt. Pete Jackson of the Minneapolis Police Department. His body was found in the Mississippi River just south of the bridge last March.

Minneapolis police are no longer investigating Jenkins’ case, Jackson said.

“There are no leads indicating foul play occurred,” he said, adding that the case is not unique.

“This happens a lot across the country where you’ve got young college students and alcohol,” he said.

Koness said the family recently came across information it believes could indicate foul play, though she could not elaborate. They are offering a reward of up to $175,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Jenkins’ death.

To raise awareness in the hope that someone comes forward with more information regarding their son’s death, the Jenkins family canvassed the University campus and other Minneapolis areas with flyers bearing Jenkins’ picture and a tip-line phone number to call with any leads. They have also displayed posters at Vikings and Gophers football games.

A television special aired Oct. 24 on FX after the network contacted a private investigator hired by the Jenkins family.

A Jenkins memorial fund has been set up through U.S. Bank. Money collected will go toward building the first lacrosse field at the University. Jenkins was a goalie and captain on the lacrosse team.

The fund will also create yearly scholarships for students attending the Carlson School of Management, where Jenkins posthumously received his bachelor’s degree in business.

To raise money for the fund, the Jenkins family is selling window clings for $5. The window clings display “CJ 3” with a halo and wings around the letters on them. At the bottom is a caption that reads: “Make Every Day Count” and, the Web site address.

His lacrosse teammates will gather today for a “team social event,” said Chris Larson, the men’s lacrosse coach.