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Report: Body found during search for missing boaters on Lake of the Woods

OAK ISLAND, Minn. - A body believed to be one of three missing boaters was recovered Friday on Lake of the Woods, the Northern Light Region newspaper of Baudette reported.

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A boat searches Monday morning near Flag Island for the three men who are missing after their boat capsized late Friday night on Lake of the Woods. Frank Walsh / Bay Store Camp

OAK ISLAND, Minn. – A body believed to be one of three missing boaters was recovered Friday on Lake of the Woods, the Northern Light Region newspaper of Baudette reported.
In a Facebook post, the Northern Light Region says Lake of the Woods County Sheriff Gary Fish confirmed the information.
When reached by Forum News Service late Friday, a spokesperson at the sheriff’s office would not immediately confirm the discovery, but said the sheriff was writing a news release.
Earlier Friday, a shoe was found that family says belonged to Keith Ayers. It was found on the shore of Oak Island.
Ayers, 28, and two companions, Cody Joseph Ostendorf, 24, and Justin Kelly Haugtvedt, 22, all of Baudette, were reported missing after their 16-foot Lund boat was found capsized last Saturday afternoon on the northeast corner of Flag Island.
They were last seen around 11:30 p.m. Friday leaving Sunset Resort on Oak Island, near the international border on the north side of the lake. Oak Island is east of the of Minnesota’s Northwest Angle and more than 20 miles north of Long Point on the lake’s southern shore.
Crews searched by land and air.
A candle light vigil was also held Friday night at Zippel Bay State Park.
A GoFundMe page launched three days ago has raised more than $21,000.
The money is being raised to assist family members of the three men, according to Retina LaValla, a Baudette resident who started the page.
“We’re still waiting on finding something out about the boys,” LaValla said in a telephone interview before news of a body being recovered.
Haugtvedt originally is from Warren, Minn. Ostendorf grew up in the Twin Cities, while Ayers, a fishing guide, is from Pennsylvania.
“Justin – we call him Huggy – is one of my very, very close friends,” she said.
LaValla started the GoFundMe page Monday night with a goal to raise $3,000, to be divided equally among the three families to help with their expenses while the search is underway, she said.
“It just took off,” she said.
The fund surpassed $10,000 on Thursday and topped $21,000 by Friday morning.
“These are our friends and our family,” she wrote on the website. “Their immediate family have came up to Baudette to stay and wait for news and answers. Your donations will help all the families with their expenses at this time. We all keep praying and hope that we can help them in this difficult time.”

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