His body was found by tubers the afternoon of Friday, September 2 in the Chippewa River, near the university--about 200 yard west of the UW-Eau Claire footbridge. The tubers called 911. EMS and police then arrived at Hobbs landing to recover the body.
Autopsy results list the cause of death as a fresh water drowning, with no signs of trauma. Authorities believe the body had been in the water since late Wednesday evening and, at this point, foul play is not suspected.
Gonzales was found wearing the same clothing he had been seen in on Water Street. The autopsy also showed his blood alcohol content was point .19. Authorities say that may have been a contributing factor in his death.
About Ricky Gonzales
Gonzales was a junior majoring in history at UW-Eau Claire and was a member of the Blugold wrestling team. The university sent out a letter to students on Saturday which read:
“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I inform you of the loss of one of our fellow Blugolds. Ricardo “Ricky” Gonzales, a UW-Eau Claire student, passed away unexpectedly; his body was recovered from the Chippewa River Friday afternoon. Ricky, a junior majoring in history, was a member of the Blugold wrestling team and touched the hearts of many people."
The university also said that counseling is available for those who need it.
According to his obituary, "Ricky was born on Aug. 3, 1989, in Albuquerque, N.M., to Ricardo and Kathleen Gonzales. He was a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire majoring in history. Ricky had been selected to be a varsity wrestling team captain. He was a standout who enjoyed all sports. Ricky graduated from Bluffton High School in Bluffton, S.C. Ricky had a strong passion for life, establishing lasting friendships. He had a deep love for his family and pets."
Not only was Gonzales a stand out athlete in college, he was also a wrestling star in high school, having been named a regional champion in wrestling.
He is survived by his parents and three sisters of Eau Claire, along with many other loving relatives--including 21 first cousins--in New Mexico, Illinois, and Colorado.
A memorial service was held in the theatre at 161 Davies Center Theater, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Campus on September 7, and a funeral ceremony for his family and close friends was held September 8 at the Newman Roman Catholic Community in Eau Claire. A fund has also been established in Ricky's name at the Royal Credit Union, P.O. Box 970, Eau Claire, Wis. 54702. Questions regarding donations will be taken at (715) 833-8111.
As the investigation continues, police are interested in talking to anyone who may have seen or had been with Gonzales Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The number to call is (715) 839-4978.