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Family in grief after McCurry's body found

A single red rose floated on the water Sunday evening in the Superior harbor slip where the body of Sylvester McCurry was found the day before.

Family members gathered at the harborfront site, just off Banks Avenue, saying they were coping with their grief and waiting for more answers on how and why the 18-year-old Duluth East senior apparently died near this remote spot on Superior's North End.

"It's horrible. This isn't the outcome we wanted,'' said Jennifer Talbott, McCurry's aunt. "I think we're still in shock.''

Family members said an autopsy is planned for today and that Superior police investigators had few answers Sunday about how McCurry died.

"My personal feeling is that there is definitely foul play. There are just so many unanswered questions,'' said Tammy Carter, McCurry's mother. "A lot of things aren't making any sense.''

But Carter said the finding did offer some closure to four months of not knowing where McCurry was, and she thanked volunteers and friends for their efforts searching for him and for the outpouring of support over the past months.

"Sly was very outgoing. ... He was always happy. He loved life. I want them to remember that,'' Carter said. "He was getting his life together.''

McCurry would have graduated from Duluth East in June.

"We're so grateful that they found him. ... But there are so many things that we don't know yet. How did he end up here?" Carter said, looking out on what's sometime referred to as the Tower Bay Slip.

Superior Police Capt. Chad LaLor said Sunday that his agency had not seen evidence that would indicate anything other than an accident.

"We have had no indication that foul play was involved up to now, nor do we now," LaLor said.

Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec issued a statement Sunday saying a body had been found in the water just after 4 p.m. Saturday. But the Sheriff's Department still hasn't officially confirmed the identity to the public. Dalbec said formal identification will be made after the autopsy.

Family members said officers told them that McCurry had identification in his pocket and was wearing the clothes he was last seen in on Jan. 17 when he was kicked out of the Stargate Nightclub on Tower Avenue. McCurry had apparently been drinking alcohol before arriving and was removed from the Sunday night alcohol-free event at the nightclub. He was never seen again, and police suspect he was heavily intoxicated and may have attempted to walk home to Duluth by going across ice on the harbor.

Authorities and volunteers combed that area of Superior several times but found no trace of McCurry until the body was reported Saturday. His body was found near the mouth of the slip.

"It's over. I guess we knew this may have been what happened. But it's hard. I don't know what we're feeling right now,'' said Joan Durfee, McCurry's grandmother.

The "Help find Sylvester McCurry" website on Facebook posted the following statement this morning: "The battle for Sylvester missing is over. Questions are not answered but knowing Sly is in a much better place puts the heart at ease. We will always, always miss and love you Sylvester."

The family said a funeral service probably will be held later this week at the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle.

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