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Woman drowns in Red Cedar River at Riverside Park

By LeAnn R. Ralph

SAND CREEK  —  43-year-old Susan R. Shackleton of New Auburn drowned in the Red Cedar River at Riverside Park in Sand Creek Sunday afternoon.

At around 3:15 p.m. Sunday, July 24, the Dunn County Communications Center received a report of a missing woman last seen at the boat landing at Riverside Park, according to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department.

When the call came across the scanner to dispatch the Sand Creek fire department, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, and the Colfax Rescue Squad, the dispatcher reported that the woman’s boyfriend had left her at the park near the boat landing, and when he returned a short while later, the woman was nowhere to be found, although the beach ball she had been playing with was floating in the water.

The New Auburn fire department also was called to bring an additional boat to conduct the search.

Rescue personnel immediately launched a land, shoreline and water search-and-rescue operation.

A Dunn County K-9 deputy assisted at the scene, and other officers checked roadways as well as the Red Cedar River.

Sand Creek firefighters, using a rescue airboat, found Shackleton downstream from Riverside Park in the Red Cedar River a short while later.

CPR and other life-saving techniques were initiated, and the Shackleton was transported to a nearby landing zone for a rescue helicopter.

According to calls over the scanner, a landing zone was being set up at the ball park in Sand Creek.

The Dunn County medical examiner later pronounced Susan R. Shackleton dead.

According to the news release from the Dunn County sheriff’s department, investigators believe that alcohol and swift river currents contributed to circumstances surrounding Shackleton’s death.

Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith reminds everyone to use caution when engaging in recreational activities on or near the water, especially in areas where the current is fast.