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Searchers find body of missing SSU student

A missing Sonoma State University freshman was found dead in Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa on Saturday, his body located in brush off a trail near Lake Ilsanjo, authorities said.

James Abriel, 19, appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Santa Rosa Police said.

A 40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun taken from his parents' home in Walnut Creek was found with his body, police Sgt. Steve Fraga said.

Authorities also found two suicide notes in his backpack, Fraga said.

A total of five notes have now been recovered - one from the Walnut Creek house, two others from Abriel's student residence at SSU and the two found Saturday, he said.

A cadaver dog and its handler, who were among an army of 110 search and rescue personnel scouring the park Saturday for a second day, located Abriel's remains about mid-morning Saturday, authorities said.

It was another hour or so before a Sonoma County coroner's detective and a police evidence technician could be dropped at the site by helicopter to confirm that it was Abriel.

Abriel's parents and several other relatives had kept a private vigil all day Friday and Saturday morning at a picnic site near the south end of Spring Lake.

After being informed that her son's body had been found, Evangeline Abriel said that she and her family "are really just overwhelmed by the outpouring of help and the resources here."

The family was accompanied by two members of the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy and, for a second day, an assistance dog aimed at providing comfort and diversion, handler Nancy Pierson said.


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