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Authorities identify body found in swamp near Proctor

Duluth News Tribune

Authorities have identified the body recovered from a swampy area near Proctor on Tuesday as a Superior man believed to be involved in a nearby copper-wire theft from Canadian National Railroad on Oct. 1.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported that the body of Jack Allen Cotrell, 51, was found shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Ugstad and Stark roads in Midway Township, just west of the CN railyard in Proctor.

Cotrell hadn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 1 and the Superior Police Department listed Cotrell as a missing person on Oct. 16. Family and friends had learned that Cotrell was possibly involved with the theft of copper wire from the railyard and, based on interviews with three accomplices involved in the original theft, law enforcement determined that Cotrell was likely still in the area of the railyard.

The Sheriff’s Office and St. Louis County Rescue Squad located Cotrell’s body on Tuesday in a narrow creek near the railyard. Preliminary autopsy results indicate that he died of drowning, and toxicology results are pending, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office and Proctor Police Department responded to a 911 call that a CN employee had observed possible trespassers shortly before midnight on Oct 1. Evidence of a copper theft was found, but officers didn’t find anyone at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s Office.