Reporting John Lauritsen
SPICER, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s difficult for a family to make sense out of what happened on a Minnesota lake Tuesday night.
Forty-five-year-old Daniel Suter and his 6-year-old son went out fishing. When the little boy fell off the pontoon boat, Suter went in the water to help. The boy made it to shore, but Suter didn’t.
“He had such big dreams for this place and it’s sad to see it will all come short,” said Jacob Reich, Suter’s brother-in-law.
Reich said Suter was living the good life. He was married with two kids and after spending years in the Twin Cities, the Suter’s had recently moved into their dream home on Bass Lake in Kandiyohi County.
“[He was] so full of life. So fun and caring. Such a great guy. He loved his kids very, very much. It’s tough this had to happen to someone so nice,” said Reich.
Just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, Suter took his 6-year-old son fishing on the family’s pontoon. At one point the 6-year-old fell in without a life jacket on. Suter jumped in to rescue him, but never resurfaced. His son swam 20 feet to shore and told his mom what happened.
Before emergency responders could arrive, family members tried to find Suter themselves.
“I jumped in and I saw his shoe floating while I was swimming and looking for him. The rescue crew arrived after a little bit and after about five minutes they found him,” said Reich.
But they couldn’t revive him. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said Dan Suter drowned in about eight feet of water, and just feet from his son. It happened in the backyard of the house he hoped to watch his kids grow up in. For his family, it will never be the same.
“Just a beautiful place and now there will be a damper on things. It’s hard to look at it the same way again. It’s very sad,” said Reich.
Sheriff Dan Hartog said Suter was not wearing a life jacket. The investigation into what happened is on-going, but at this point Sheriff Hartog does not believe alcohol was a factor.
A memorial fund has been established for the family, called the Suter Family Benefit Fund. The benefit account has been established at the Kandiyohi Bank Office of Atwater State Bank, P.O. Box 338, Kandiyohi, MN 56521.