DNA test confirms body found by canoeist is that of missing Mankato woman

three photos of a woman
The Blue Earth County Sheriff's office confirms a body found in a swamp is that of Nyawuor Chuol, 30, of Mankato. She told family she was going for a walk on April 25, 2022 but never returned home.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Authorities in southern Minnesota say that the body that was found by a canoeist in May is confirmed to be that of missing 30-year-old Nyawuor Chuol of Mankato. 

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that a DNA test confirmed the body recovered from Eagle Lake was that of Chuol.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office didn’t detect any significant injury or trauma during the autopsy, and that the cause of death was listed as probable freshwater drowning. 

Chuol went missing on April 29 after telling family she was going for a walk but never came home. She was last seen on surveillance footage getting dropped off at an Eagle Lake gas station, several miles east of downtown Mankato. Her cellphone communications ended an hour after being dropped off.

Law enforcement conducted shoulder-to-shoulder searches of the shoreline around Eagle Lake and on the water, as well as through the heavy brush and swamps. Cadaver dogs were also used as well as the state patrol helicopter searching the area by air.

A canoeist reported finding a body in a swamp outside the primary search area a few days later.

During a press conference, Nyawaraga Chuol, Nyawuor’s sister, told reporters that it was “out of character” for Nyawuor to just leave home and not return. She described Nyawuor to be “very blunt and very outspoken.” 

Nyawuor’s family moved to the United States in the early 1990s, first having lived in South Dakota before moving to Minnesota in 1997, where her father accepted a pastorship in the Twin Cities. Nyawuor graduated from North Park University in Chicago and worked at a book-making factory. 

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.