'A fun, outgoing personality': Ellsworth Community College freshman drowns in Iowa River

Isabella Rosario
Des Moines Register

An Ellsworth Community College freshman has been identified as the man emergency crews found dead in the Iowa River on Tuesday.

Iowa Falls Police Chief Wade Harken confirmed Wednesday that Robert Givens Jr., 21, was located at approximately 9:55 p.m. after more than three hours of searching by emergency crews. His death is being investigated as an accidental drowning, Harken said.

Iowa Falls police were called around 6:21 p.m. Tuesday to a location north of the Washington Avenue Bridge. The caller reported a man was in distress after jumping into the Iowa River, according to a news release.

Multiple agencies, including the Iowa State Patrol and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, aided in the rescue effort. Citizen volunteers with boats and sonar detection equipment also assisted, police said.

Givens Jr. was a member of the Ellsworth Community College wrestling team, according to a news release from the school. 

"He was on campus a short time but made a big impact while he was here. With a fun, outgoing personality, he was known to turn strangers into friends," the release said.

Provost Martin Reimer said the tragedy "is felt by all."

“The entire college community is struck with feelings of sadness and disbelief today after losing one of our own," Reimer said.

Athletic Director Nate Forsyth said Givens Jr. will be remembered "for his ability to make connections and lead the (wrestling) team," calling the freshman "a great addition."

A vigil for Givens Jr. will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday near the Iowa Falls Veterans Memorial on Foster Boulevard, west of the Washington Street bridge, according to the release.

Grief counselors are available to Ellsworth students.

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at irosario@gannett.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.