‘There are no words to describe our loss’: Missing UA student’s body found

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:57 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:59 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The body of a missing University of Alabama student was found Tuesday afternoon.

Tuscaloosa’s Fire Chief confirmed before 5:00 p.m. that Garrett Walker’s body was recovered from the Black Warrior River.

Garrett Walker was reported missing Sunday, November 7, 2021.

The body has been positively identified as Walker. His family members are on site and have been notified. Tuscaloosa Police said this is an ongoing investigation.

Garrett Walker’s family issued a statement:

Garrett Walker’s family is devastated by the announcement from Tuscaloosa Police that his body was pulled from the Black Warrior River following a multi-day search. “We remember Garrett as a young man of faith,” said his mother, Debbie Walker. “We were so proud of him. He was dedicated to his faith and his friends, he loved to learn, and was so excited about studying at the University of Alabama.”

Garrett was a Junior Aerospace Engineering Student at UA. A private pilot with significant aviation experience, Garrett selected University of Alabama to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as an engineer.

“He was proud to be a student here and to was eager to make his mark in the world,” said Andrew Walker, his father. “Our son was an exceptional young man. There are no words to describe our loss.”

Garrett’s large family includes his two twin brothers and a sister. They are now planning Garrett’s funeral. Andrew and Debbie thank the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Fire and Rescue divers, the University of Alabama community and everyone who engaged in the search for their son. A fund has been established by the family in order to endow a scholarship honoring Garrett’s life. They now ask for privacy as they grieve.

Dr. Stuart R. Bell, president of The University of Alabama released a statement:

Our University of Alabama community is heartbroken by the loss of our student, Garrett Walker. Our prayers and deepest sympathy are with his family, friends and loved ones as we mourn his passing. The UA counseling center is available for those affected by the mournful news of his passing.

Twenty-year-old Walker was last seen leaving a bar in downtown Tuscaloosa just after 1:00 Sunday morning. His parents reported him missing after his phone was found near the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk later that day. Officers recovered a piece of Walker’s clothing from the River. That is where Tuscaloosa police and firefighters focused their search with boats, at least one drone and a lot of manpower.

The search for Walker included about 10 or so first responders, half a dozen vehicles and several of his loved ones, including his parents. First responders were on a dock with a search boat in the water as early as 7:00 Monday morning.

Walker’s family is from Mt. Airy, Maryland.

A prayer circle formed Tuesday evening as friends and family grieved their loved one.

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