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Body of MSUM swimming instructor heading home to Ethiopia

Fanuel Shewarega Asrat shown in a Facebook profile picture from May 2014.

MOORHEAD —— The body of the 24-year-old Minnesota State University Moorhead swimming instructor who died in the Red River earlier this summer is heading home to Ethiopia after a successful crowdfunding campaign to pay for travel costs.

Friends of Fanuel Shewarega Asrat set up a GoFundMe page following Asrat's death, which was confirmed July 1 when crews discovered his body in the river after he went missing June 29.

The online fundraising goal of $19,290 was reached to cover the costs of sending Asrat back to his home country nearly 8,000 miles away.

Some of the funds will also be used to cover funeral costs and student debt.

Fanuel was a senior at MSUM, majoring in economics. His LinkedIn account showed that he was a swimming instructor there. He also served as treasurer of the MSUM Economics Society and as an accountant and bookkeeper for the university's Roland Dille Center for the Arts.

Asrat described himself on the website as an "economist by training, inquisitive through instinct, hard working by choice."

MSUM spokesman Dave Wahlberg said the university will be hosting a vigil for Asrat when students return to campus from summer break. A specific date for a vigil has has not been set.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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