Nick Rossini, a 21-year-old stand-out first year cadet at West Point, got into a bit of trouble while home for Christmas break. Late on Friday 12/15, Rossini damaged his mother's car in a drunk driving accident in Crystal, MN after a night of partying with friends. A short time later, he was arrested for drunk driving and called his parents to pick him up. He spent the day with his family, but apparently left again sometime during the night. His body was found in Goose Lake four months later.
Nick is the second young man to disappear from White Bear Lake since Nathan Edberg went missing in 1999.
Nick planned to spend the night with one of his friends in Minneapolis, MN near the University of Minnesota campus in an area nicknamed Dinkytown. That night he remembered he was scheduled to referee a basketball game Saturday morning, so he decided to drive home to White Bear Lake. However, he drove in the opposite direction and, sometime after leaving his friends, ran his mother's 1996 Buick Park Avenue into a parked car. About 5:40 a.m., a Crystal police officer spotted a car with a smashed front end drive past the police station. The officer followed the car and pulled over the driver. Rossini, who was alone in the car, was given a breath test, which showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.15 percent. (He was later charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence). His parents drove to the nearby tow yard to pick up their son and the car. After coming home, Rossini slept until midafternoon. He then went to church with his parents, drove to the Minneapolis Police Department headquarters to file a report about his collision with the parked car, and had dinner with his family about 5 pm. According to some reports, Nick and his parents had some tense exchanges over the arrest, but by the time he went to bed the next night, things were okay. Rossini hugged his parents goodnight about 10:30, and his siblings last saw him after midnight before they went to bed. His family believes Rossini left the house sometime between 2:30 and 5 a.m. Sunday. The only clue to his departure was the unlocked deadbolt of the front door. There were no signs of struggle in the Rossini home. He did not take his wallet, a cell phone, backpack, suitcase or clothes when he left, and he did not leave a note.
A Good Kid
According to the Associated Press, his family believes it is unlikely that Rossini would do "anything rash." Rossini, "a former star student and athlete at White Bear Lake High School, Rossini spent a year at St. John's University before deciding to enlist in the Army. He was spotted by West Point recruiters while still in basic training, and so far has maintained a 3.5 grade-point average at the elite academy--putting him in the top 50 of the 1,000-member freshman class." The Rossinis have since talked to West Point officials who have stated that they will not penalize him for the arrest and they would take him back.
Authorities have walked the shores and flown over three lakes near the Rossini home without finding signs of a fall through the ice. Search teams went door-to-door and yard-to-yard in nearby neighborhoods, and dogs have also been used. Police, sheriff, fire and other public safety personnel from throughout the Twin Cities, along with friends, neighbors and volunteers from area lakes and trails groups have helped with the search. The search resumed again in the spring, with deputies search White Bear Lake, Birch Lake and Bald Eagle Lake in April before beginning a search of Goose Lake.
The body of Nicholas Rossini was found in Goose Lake on Monday, April 16 west of Hwy. 61 and Hoffman Road. He was about ten feet from shore. The lake is about three miles from his family's home. The Ramsey County medical examiner's office said it appeared the 21-year-old from White Bear Lake had drowned. Authorities found the body in Goose Lake on Monday, while they were searching for Rossini. His body was identified through dental records. The body was found in sweatpants, a sweatshirt and jogging shoes.
When Nick vanished, The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension posted Nick's missing poster on its website, including a note about the possibility of a head injury from the car accident. There is no information yet on whether evidence of head injury has been found. From the outset, family members thought Nick must have left to clear his head or go for a jog, because he was embarrassed over the incident and worried about what it might mean for his future. This theory is now gaining ground as Nick's body was found in workout clothes.
Nick Rossini is the second young man to go missing from the small suburb of White Bear Lake, MN since the 1999 disappearance of Nathan Edberg. Edberg was last seen at a bar and his truck was later found empty in a ditch off the highway. Police believe Edberg accidentally drove off the road, but he has never been found. In a strange coincidence, the Rossini home is not too far from Decoy's Bar where Nathan Edberg was last seen. The mothers of both young men also work together at Lincoln Elementary school and live within a few miles of each other. Edberg's mother, Jackie, advised Rossini's mother, Pat, on how to handle the media and was helping the Rossini family cope with the disappearance.
After graduating from White Bear Lake high school in 2004, Nick attended St. John's University, where just two years earlier, student Joshua Guimond disappeared.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Nicholas Rossini, 20 (from White Bear lake, MN)
College: West Point Academy (West Point, NY), formerly of St. John's University
Physical description: 6'1," 185 with dark blond hair, hazel eyes and an athletic build.
Last seen: 12/16/06, at home in White Bear Lake, MN
Recovered: 04/16/07, Goose Lake, MN
Cause of death: drowning