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2015 story: Hager City man found dead in Eau Claire

Caleb Brian Gustafson

A 20-year-old Hager City man who was a student at UW-Eau Claire was found dead in Putnam Park on Tuesday, April 21. UW-Eau Claire officials announced Wednesday morning the individual found was Caleb Brian Gustafson, a 2013 graduate of Ellsworth High School. UWEC Dean of Students Joseph Abhold notified students, faculty and staff through an email message. A University police official said Gustafson’s death is still under investigation and no foul play is suspected.  Gustafson, a sophomore, was a psychology major. Ellsworth High School principal Mark Stoesz said the school received a phone call from a parent at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning informing them of Gustafson’s death. “It’s very cliched, but he was a really nice boy,” Stoesz said. “He was a really wonderful kid, a friendly kid, and such a good student. He was a good school citizen.” Gustafson was heavily involved in cross-country, band and track while a student in Ellsworth, Stoesz said.  “You know, they’re up at college and you think they’re safe there,” Stoesz said. “I have nothing but positives to say about him.” According to University police, Gustafson’s body was found by two students in a wooded area of Putnam Park Tuesday afternoon in a small pond with no visible injuries.  The cause of death has not yet been determined and is still under investigation by University police, who are being assisted by Eau Claire Police. Abhold’s letter said “there is no indication of any danger to university or community residents ... our thoughts and hearts are with Caleb’s family and friends during this difficult time.” Abhold’s letter also said information about Gustafson’s funeral arrangements will be shared as it’s made available. The university is offering a support meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the basement of Bridgman Hall for affected students.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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