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Jenkins' parents say they're not ready to let him go

Associated Press

WATERTOWN, Minn. -- Steve and Jan Jenkins say their son's funeral on Tuesday was not a farewell.

They spent four months searching for their son, University of Minnesota senior Chris Jenkins, whose body was found last Thursday in the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. And they said they were not ready to let him go.

"Chris will live in our hearts now forever," Jan Jenkins said last week. "Rather than saying goodbye, I think I really need to tell Chris, 'I'll see you later.'"

As they mourn their son, whose funeral Mass was said at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pax Christi Catholic Church in Eden Prairie, Jenkins' parents said they also continue to grapple with unanswered questions about his disappearance early Nov. 1 from a downtown Minneapolis bar where he had celebrated Halloween.

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Close to midnight, he was kicked out of the Lone Tree Bar &; Grill, wearing an American Indian costume.

"We need to continue our search to get answers. We as parents deserve to know what happened that night," said Steve Jenkins, speaking Sunday night at the farm home of his in-laws, Gene and Rose Sweet, in rural Carver County.

Specifically, Steve Jenkins said, he would like to know what happened in the bar, whether his son was escorted out and how he ended up outside without his wallet, cell phone and coat.

The comments were the couple's first since they returned to the Twin Cities from their home outside Milwaukee after authorities confirmed Friday that the body recovered near St. Anthony Falls was their son's.

The family, suspecting foul play, had hired a private investigator, Chuck Loesch, to pursue leads in the case shortly after Chris Jenkins disappeared.

Police, saying they have no evidence indicating foul play, have treated Jenkins' disappearance as a missing person case, with the investigation continuing pending autopsy results.

Both parents said they suspect their son was a victim of a crime because they do not believe their son was depressed or would have ever considered suicide.

"He was so far from depressed you wouldn't believe it," Jan Jenkins said. "Read the comments on his Web site. One of them was, 'Chris cheered me up, and he hardly knew me.' That's the kind of kid he was."

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Jan cited the list she found in her son's room after his disappearance: names of companies such as Cargill that Jenkins -- enrolled in the Carlson School of Management -- planned to interview with.

"This was a kid who had it together," she said. "He had a zest for life."

On Saturday, Steve Jenkins said, Hennepin County medical examiners allowed a Wisconsin medical examiner to review the steps they had taken during an autopsy and to examine the body.

Results of toxicology and tissue tests, which could be inconclusive, won't be available for at least two weeks.

Doctors spent seven hours on the autopsy and didn't find any obvious signs of foul play, such as stab wounds or gunshots.

They also did not find any signs of natural causes for his death.

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