On bridges and road shoulders, fellow officers lined up Sunday morning to salute conservation officer Eugene Wynn Jr., who died after responding to a call at Cross Lake.
The motorcade transported his body from the Anoka County Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey to his home in Pine City, where his funeral is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
Wynn, 43, died Friday night after he was thrown from a boat and went under while responding to a call of something suspicious floating in Cross Lake, which is near Pine City. He never came back up.
“The original call was about a body in the water, a potential body in the water,” said Joe Albert, a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) spokesman. “Like any law enforcement people, [they] jumped on it and got out there as quick as possible.”
Details after that point are scant, Albert said. About 7:45 p.m., Wynn and a Pine County sheriff’s deputy got into a boat to check on the floating object. They were tossed into the water a minute later, a news release said, and began swimming to shore. The other deputy was rescued but Wynn “slipped under the water before they could get to him.”
Wynn’s body was found about 1:30 a.m. Saturday following an intensive search under massive lights.
The Sheriff’s Office and DNR declined to say whether Wynn was wearing a life jacket.
“The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating,” Albert said Sunday afternoon. “Everything that was released yesterday, it’s pretty much the same at this point.”
Wynn was with the DNR for 18 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Albert said he is heading to Pine City on Monday to get more details and discuss funeral plans with the family.
Hundreds of people thanked Wynn for his service on social media, with some saying they saw the procession pass by.
“We witnessed this on our way to Easter,” Rebecca Twito-Gerten wrote on Facebook. “Goosebumps.”
“A deep felt loss of a hero in the line of service. May solace be granted to all,” Mary Femniak said, also on Facebook.
Erin Adler • 612-673-1781