San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Body of missing U.S. college student recovered in Costa Rica

The body of Erik Downes, a junior at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, was recovered Friday in the waters off Playa Piñuelas on the southern Pacific coast, university officials said in a statement.

Downes, 20, was reported missing Tuesday at Playa Dominical. A spokesman for the Costa Rica Red Cross said Downes was swimming with classmates when he was caught in a riptide. Downes, a pre-med major and vice president of the student body, was traveling with Oglethorpe classmates and faculty members for an ecotourism study abroad trip.

“Erik was a shining star with unlimited potential and a kind heart,” Oglethorpe University President Lawrence M. Schall said. “This is a great loss to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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