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Police: Body pulled from Black River is missing La Crosse man

Published On: Jul 12 2014 11:03:04 AM CDT
Body pulled from Black River

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

The body of a missing La Crosse man was pulled from the Black River in La Crosse just south of the I-90 bridge Friday night.

Shalim Shah Augustine, 23, had been missing since the night of July 8th after hanging out with friends who docked their boat at the landing behind Powerhouse Marine near Black River Beach.

The La Crosse Fire Department says emergency crews responded to a call about a floating object in the river around 6:10 p.m. Friday.  About 20 minutes later, police recovered Augustine's body.

Police say there were no visible signs of trauma on the body, but an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday morning in Madison.

If you have any information that would help police with their investigation into Augustine's death, call (608) 785-5962.

Previous Story

Family and friends are searching on land and water for 23-year-old Shalim Shah Augustine, a La Crosse man reported missing since Tuesday, July 8.

Augustine was last seen between 11 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday, July 8 after hanging out with a group of friends who docked their boat at the landing behind the Powerhouse Marine at 518 Logan Street in La Crosse.

Police said Augustine walked southbound through the parking lot towards Copeland Park. He did not return home and did not show up to work on Wednesday.

Augustine is 5’09,” 145 lbs and has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a pink button-up shirt, tan cargo shorts, black sandals, and black sunglasses. The picture of Augustine above was taken Wednesday before he went missing.

La Crosse police are searching for Augustine using phone traces and records, as well as a K-9 search. Police told News 8 the K-9 took them away from the Black River, however police are still looking at the riverfront and other parts of the city.

Friends and family have been searching for Augustine since Wednesday. A co-worker from Huck Finn's says they were up all night searching.

Search crews were out again Thursday and into the night. The were searching in and around Copeland Park, and handing out flyers to people nearby. The search dogs picking up a scent is the reason search parties were concentrating on the Copeland Park area.

On Friday morning, crews took a boat on the Black River and also searched on land all over the City of La Crosse. So far there has been no sign or word from Augustine.

Family and friends joined the search Friday morning. Dozens of them met at Sloopy’s Alma Mater in La Crosse to form a search party.

Although there is no evidence, the police are questioning if Augustine's disappearance is suspicious because the words family and friends use to describe him, points to a man they say would never just disappear.

"Shalim is a very friendly young man,” said Shalim’s uncle, Rev. Dr. Patrick Augustine.

"Just an amazing character, just a really really good-hearted fellow,” said Shalim’s friend, Jeff Kulas.

"Always happy, helpful and thankful,” said Shalim’s family friend, Lora Stefanski.

These are just a few words used to describe 23-year-old Shalim Augustine who has been missing since Tuesday night after spending time out on a boat with friends.

"I was totally surprised, it is a shock to us all,” said Shalim's uncle.

Shalim's family contacted the police after he didn't return home or show up to work on Wednesday, something those who know him say just isn't like him.

"What I've learned and what I know is he always came back after his work,” said Shalim's uncle.

"He was a diligent worker, he showed up on time, he was always full of energy when he got there, it's definitely out of character for him, definitely out of character,” said Kulas.

That is why family and friends met Friday morning to search for Shalim.

"Today is the day we need to find our boy,” said a search crew member.

About 30 people gathered at Sloopy's Alma Mater bar in La Crosse splitting into groups of three or four people. Some searched on foot, while others searched by water along the river.

Police said Shalim was last seen walking towards Copeland Park near the Powerhouse Marine on Logan Street. One of Shalim's friends says he doesn't think he would head towards the water.

"He can't swim and he is actually afraid of the water,” said Kulas.

After a day of searching on land and water, there is still no sight or word from Shalim.

"All I could think last night, every night really, how does a mother sleep, how do you reason with yourself, every phone all you jump, I just can't imagine,” said Stefanski.

Family and friends say this is just the beginning and the search will go on until Shalim comes home.

“Shalim, we love you and wherever you are, please come back,” said Shalim's uncle.

"Come back, we need you man, we are waiting, we're waiting for ya,” said Kulas.

A prayer vigil is planned at 5 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in La Crosse on Main Street.

"We pray that it will be a day that we will be able to find Shalim and bring him home and there will be a great rejoicing at the Christ Episcopal Church tonight," said Shalim's uncle Rev. Dr. Patrick Augustine.

If you have any information about Augustine’s whereabouts, contact the La Crosse Police Department at (608) 785-5962.

Shalim Augustine missing poster

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