UPDATE 05/13/22: A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Schaeffer family deal with funeral costs for their son. The Tyler Schaeffer Memorial Fund is an account set up at Union State Bank in Beulah. Since the page went up on Thursday, over $10,800 has been donated so far. The goal of the GoFundMe page was $10,000.
BEULAH, N.D. (KXNET) — The search for missing Beulah 18-year-old Tyler Schaeffer came to a tragic end Wednesday night when authorities recovered his body from the Knife River.
According to a post by Beulah Police Chief Frank Senn Thursday morning on the police department’s Facebook page, “It is with a heavy heart that I have been asked to inform all of Team Tyler. Tyler Schaeffer was recovered last night from the Knife River. I pray for comfort to Tyler’s family, our Beulah family and all those who prayed for Tyler’s return. Please respect the family’s privacy and funeral announcements will be forthcoming. For all of Team Tyler it’s time to heal, hold your loved ones a bit tighter today. Thank you for all those who helped in our efforts to find and bring Tyler home. Words cannot express our appreciation and admiration for each of you.”
It has been difficult for the families in Beulah — but there finally seems to be a sense of closure.
“There’s been a lot of speculation outside of the various rumors. I can dispel at this stage that there is no indication of foul play,” Senn said in an interview with KX.
They have to wait for the State Medical Examiner’s results, but Senn says that it was likely an accident and that maybe substances were involved. “We have to wait for the State ME. There have been indications that possibly there was. Not of the illicit nature,” he added.
Eyewitness accounts and various surveillance videos show Schaeffer walking south, possibly impaired, on Highway 49.
But now the community is ready to begin the grieving process. Christy Mindt is putting on a community prayer walk.
In a statement, the superintendent of Beulah Public Schools says the community is keeping Schaeffer’s family in their thoughts and prayers:
“On behalf of our entire district we want to thank all those that searched for, prayed, and supported Tyler, his family, and friends over the past few days. Hug your children today and every day. Even though children come to school to learn – what they need more than anything is love. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our students, staff, and Tyler’s family.
The district wants to thank the Mercer County Youth Bureau, Ministerial officials, and Coal Country Health that have been onsite today and previous days in conjunction with our school counselors to support our students and staff.
Furthermore, a heartfelt thank you to all of the first responders whom have worked tirelessly over the last few days to bring Tyler back to us. These people are true heroes. We ask that you please continue to keep Tyler’s family in your thoughts and prayers, as well as our entire school community.”Superintendent Travis Jordan
Schaeffer was reported missing after last being seen walking by the Congregational Church in Beulah around 3 a.m. on May 1.
For 11 days, authorities and volunteers took part in daily searches by air, water and ground for Schaeffer.
Progress was noted regularly on the Beulah Police Department Facebook page and other individual social media accounts.