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Video shows Houle entering river, University vigil planned

Crews search the Mississippi River for the body of missing University student Jennifer Houle on Monday. Video footage was discovered showing Houle entering the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue Bridge early Friday morning, police said Monday.
Image by Holly Peterson
Crews search the Mississippi River for the body of missing University student Jennifer Houle on Monday. Video footage was discovered showing Houle entering the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue Bridge early Friday morning, police said Monday.
Authorities began searching the Mississippi River for University of Minnesota student Jennifer Houle on Monday after they discovered video footage of her entering the river early Friday morning.
 
The video, captured by a Minneapolis police surveillance camera, shows Houle going into the river from the 10th Avenue Bridge. Police declined to say whether the video showed Houle jumping or falling over the bridge’s four-foot railing.
 
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office will search the river for Houle, and Minneapolis police plan to help as needed.
 
“Conditions permitting, we’ll be out there every day until we don’t need to be anymore,” said Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Rebecca Gilbuena.
 
Authorities used helicopters, sonar and on-shore teams as they searched near the 10th Avenue Bridge and downstream, Gilbuena said.
 
Minneapolis police are not looking for suspects, said John Elder, a public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department.
 
Houle was last seen between 1 and 2 a.m. Friday at Blarney Pub and Grill. Her purse was found about three blocks from the Dinkytown bar on Fourth Street Southeast at about 3 a.m.
 
The University of Minnesota Police Department conducted an informal search over the weekend but isn’t assisting in the water recovery effort, Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said.
 
Gilbuena said authorities will search during the day until Houle is found.
 
Houle, a business senior in the Carlson School of Management, is set to graduate this spring. She’s also a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, whose house is about a block from where her purse was found. 
 
Danita Brown Young, the University’s Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, encouraged students to contact Boynton Health Service or University Counseling and Consulting Services in a statement released Monday
 
The school is also offering counseling services specifically for Carlson students and Pi Beta Phi sorority members, the statement said. 
 
“Our thoughts are with her family, friends, classmates and sorority sisters,” Brown Young said in the statement.
 
Houle’s family is requesting privacy, a statement from police said.
 
More than 200 people cried and hugged during a vigil on Sunday night at Stillwater Area High School, from which Houle graduated. 
 
Another vigil is planned for 7:40 p.m. on Tuesday at Coffman Union’s front plaza.
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