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Police investigate UW-La Crosse student's death

Published On: Feb 18 2013 07:23:42 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 18 2013 10:37:53 PM CST
Neala Frye

Onalaska police are investigating the death of a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student.

Police found Neala Frye's body in the area of 1st Avenue South near the railroad tracks in Onalaska on Sunday night.

Police said they're not sure how Frye, who graduated from Evansville High School in 2007, ended up in the marshy area where her body was found.

A bloodhound tracking dog led Onalaska police officers and officers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through heavy vegetation, which led to the railroad tracks where the scent was lost.

Frye's friends found some of her belongings near the railroad tracks and a search started about 3 p.m. Sunday. Frye's body was found about seven hours later.

"All up to it (finding her body), I was about as hopeful as can be. I was just hoping she was safe somewhere, and then as soon as that moment hit, it was like the ground just fell out beneath you," said roommate Tyler Zimbrowski.

Investigators said Frye, 23, left a nearby bar, the Spillway Pub, about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. She was doing promotional work there for a tanning salon she works at.

Police said Frye left with a co-worker but they went their separate ways.

Friends were concerned when Frye never came home and never made it to work.

Friends of the UW-La Crosse senior said they're devastated by her death.

"I miss her. I wish I was at the bar with her," said Shane Blair, a close friend.

Police said they don't suspect foul play at this point. Investigators said they believe alcohol and the cold weather may have contributed to Frye's death and their investigation is ongoing.

Friends said Frye was a very happy person who loved to laugh and smile.

Many of Frye's friends and family are gathering Monday night at UW-La Crosse for a vigil in her memory.

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