On Friday, July 3, Bryan Barker, 21, from New London, Wisconsin went to Sullivan's Bar on 1227 North Water Street in Milwaukee to celebrate a friend's birthday. He left the bar between 1 and 1:30 a.m. and was planning to walk home. He disappeared.
His body was spotted by a passerby in the Milwaukee River on 7/6 and was recovered by divers near the 1400 block of Water Street, about two blocks north of the bar.
Bryan Barker and some friends rented a stretch limo to celebrate a friend's 21st birthday. Sometime between 1 and 1:30 a.m., he left Sullivan's Bar at 1227 North Water Street to walk home. According to the medical examiner's report, he was very drunk and had been asked to leave Sullivan's after getting into an argument with a friend.
Barker was reported missing later on Saturday after he did not answer his girlfriend's calls to his cell phone. According to Fox11 Online, "search parties, including three Milwaukee area police agencies, began canvassing Water Street and the riverfront at 7:00 a.m. Monday.
According to the medical examiner's report, one of Bryan's friends who had been celebrating with him had been mugged and beaten that same night. It is not clear if or how this is related to Bryan Barker's death, and it is still under investigation.
About Bryan Barker
Barker a senior in Finance and Business student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, had graduated from New London High School in 2004. He had a steady girlfriend, a part-time job installing security systems, and a summer job working at Atlas Cold Storage in Appleton, WI. According to a coworker there, he was physically fit and could bench press as much as 380 pounds. The week before his death, he moved into a new apartment, according to his landlord Larry Kosberg.
According to the UWM Post, Barker is the "second UWM student from New London to die in the past year. UWM freshman Luke Murphy was found dead in a UWM residence hall in March due to an apparent drug overdose."
Barker's body was initially identified by Bryan Barker's brother, Jonathan, who was at the scene, then confirmed by police. Officials said early on that there were no signs of foul play.
On Tuesday, July 7, the Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy and determined his death was the result of an accidental drowning. The medical examiner's report said Barker was a heavy drinker and was drunk on the night he disappared. Barker's friends had also previously stated that he was intoxicated at the time of his disappearance. The investigation is still open, but police believe this was the case of a tragic accident. It has not been reported if police have determined how Barker ended up in the river.
Funeral services were held Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church in New London, WI. Internment is at the Floral Hills Cemetery in New London.
Facts of Interest:
Name/age: Bryan Barker, 21
Residence: Milwaukee, WI
Hometown: New London, WI. Born in Appleton, WI to Joseph and Marie (Steibs) Barker.
School: senior at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2004 graduate of New London High School)
Major: Business and Finance
Bryan held a summer job at Atlas Cold Storage in Appleton and also had a part-time job installing security systems in Milwaukee.
Last seen: 7/3/09 Milwaukee, WI
Recovered: 7/6/09 Milwaukee River near 1400 block of Water Street
Cause of death: drowning
Manner of death: accident
Thank you, Nicole, for alerting me to this story and providing links.
Associated Press, Body found near where UWM student last seen, 07/06/09
The Post-Crescent, Family of missing New London man Bryan Barker says body pulled from Milwaukee River is his, 07/07/09
TMJ4 Milwaukee, Missing UWM Student Found Dead in River, 07/07/09
The UWM Post, Body found in Milwaukee River believed to be missing UWM student, 07/07/09
Obituary, The Post-Crescent
Memorial hopes to help missing persons searches, NBC26, 07/10/09
Body of UWM student pulled from Milwaukee River, WISN, 07/07/09
Two UWM students found dead from two separate incidents, UWM Post.com, 7/7/09
Posted 7/7/09. Revised 7/13/09.