Authorities in the Iowa Great Lakes area say it was a relief to find the body of a 12-year-old Estherville boy who had been missing in West Lake Okoboji since October of last year. Dickinson County Sheriff Greg Baloun says they received a 9-1-1 call at about 4:30 Friday afternoon. “A couple of kids out on waverunners thought they saw something that may have been a body. I was leaving the office and before I even got out of the door there was a second call from a different person in reference to what could be a body,” the sheriff says. “I called the D-N-R. They dispatched a boat over there to confirm that it was a body.” Twelve-year-old Collin Helmers of Estherville had been missing since Saturday, October 23rd. He was on a 28-foot boat that went down in rough water. The body of a 31-year-old Estherville man who was also on the boat when it went down was recovered a few days after the accident. Baloun says the body of the 12-year-old boy was found about 11-hundred feet west of where the barge went down. “There’s a big closure part of it,” the sheriff says. “There wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t think (about the missing boy). We drive across the lake and around the lake all the time, just (thinking) about where he is and what are we going to do.” The boy’s parents — Randy and Carla Helmers — say it’s a bittersweet moment to finally have their son’s body recovered. His father says they’ve been crying for seven and a half months. He says they’re happy to have his body recovered, but sad that they’ve lost a son. Randy Helmers says the family will continue to raise money for the Collin Helmers Foundation. A benefit is planned on the Fourth of July to raise funds to help purchase a side scan sonar for use in future search efforts in the Iowa Great Lakes.
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