Jake Robinson was spending time on the St. Croix River with three friends on Sunday, Aug. 12, when they spotted something floating in the water near the Windmill Marina in Afton.
"I saw something floating and I could tell it wasn’t a log," Jake said.
What Jake and his friends didn’t know at the time was they had found the body of snowmobiler Timothy Michael Pease, of Lake St. Croix Beach. Pease went missing while riding his snowmobile on the frozen river on Feb. 4, 2010.
On Sunday, the 13-year-old Woodbury boy was reluctant to get close and investigate what looked like a body in the water, so his friends went in the other dinghy and yelled out that it was a body.
"I thought they were kidding, but it turns out they were serious," Robinson said.
Robinson said at first it was hard to even tell it was a body, let alone guess it was the missing snowmobiler. The images, when the body was closer, are ones that will stick in his mind. The clothing did become clear to him eventually.
"I didn’t go too close so I don’t have nightmares," he said. "But I did spend some time thinking that it’s crazy that I found a body in the water."
Recalling the events wasn’t too hard for the young boy or his mother, Susan Robinson.
The one of the boys radioed his family on shore and the others rushed to find their own parents when they reached land.
"They were running. They usually go at a slower pace so when we saw them running we knew something was up," Susan Robinson said. "Everyone was pretty panicked, but I think they did the right things."
The Robinsons said some people who were in the area went out to where the boys directed them to make sure the body didn’t float away. Police came to the scene and eventually identified the body as the missing snowmobiler’s.
Coincidentally, the group of boys had just talked about Pease having never been found on Saturday night.
"We had known about the snowmobiler and every spring we would talk about how he hadn’t been found," Susan Robinson said. "But never in a million years would we have thought we would have found him."
Susan Robinson said when the identity was confirmed her son said he felt like something good came of the difficult day.
"He said ‘Wow. We did do something good,’" she recalled Jake saying. "At least now the family can have some closure."