Missing UNF Student Found Dead, Candlelight Vigil Monday

Feb 20, 2017

George Louissaint
Credit George Louissaint via Facebook

A candlelight vigil is scheduled Monday night to remember University of North Florida student George Louissaint Jr., 20, who was found Saturday in a pond at the District on Kernan apartments.

The vigil will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Osprey Plaza at the student union.

The discovery of Louissaint's body, across the street from the Kernan Boulevard Baptist Church, came nearly one week after he went missing after a party at the Osprey Flats near the rear entrance of the Glen Kernan subdivision and Kernan Boulevard.

Ron Lendvay, director of investigations and homeland security for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said a passerby walking a dog saw something unusual partially submerged in the pond, and a dive team that responded said the clothing matched Louissaint's.

Officers said there were no signs of foul play. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, Lendvay said.

Cynthia Butler-Jackson, who helped in the search for Louissaint, said she hopes that Louissaint's family can now find closure.

"I'm happy that his body has been found for closure for his parents," Butler-Jackson said. "Especially his mother. I hate the outcome. I kept my fingers crossed that he would be found alive, but like the father said, he was willing to accept whatever the Lord had designed."

Louissant was last seen at 2 a.m. Sunday at a party broken up by police. Family members said he spoke to his sister on the phone about an hour later. His family said nothing indicated anything was wrong. His parents tried calling his cellphone, but it went straight to voicemail.

Police began to wind down their search Wednesday and focused their investigation into how Louissaint disappeared. On Thursday, which would have been Louissaint's 21st birthday, dive teams returned to search more ponds and lakes on campus.

Crews searched 14 square miles and 27 bodies of water during the search for Louissaint, UNF police said.

UNF police Chief Frank Mackesy said on Wednesday that they were not giving up the search, but visible activity decreased as the focus turned to following tips and developing leads.

Authorities said they had previously searched the pond where Louissaint's body was found.

Mackesy said the campus has set up grief counselors for students in the Student Union Center in Building 58 East, room 1100.

Officers said the investigation into Louissaint's death is ongoing.