SDSU student’s body found in Brookings grain bin

The search for a man that went missing early Thursday morning on Oct. 23 has ended after his body was found at a Brookings cooperative.

Jacob Heisinger, 26, was reported missing on Monday, Oct. 27 after last being seen downtown Brookings on Wednesday, Oct. 22. His body was found in a grain bin at AgFirst Farmers Cooperative.

According to Brookings Police Chief Jeff Miller, at approximately 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, the body was confirmed to be that of Heisinger.

The police were not notified of his disappearance until Monday, Oct. 27. After a press release was issued, a report was received from an employee at Ag First Farmers Cooperative on Tuesday that there was some evidence left behind on their property.

“There was a piece of his property that was left behind at that location, basically on top of the silo,” Miller said. “…which led us to believe that Jacob might be on that property and perhaps in a grain bin.”

According to Miller, they began their search at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the grain bin. The search was conducted by Brookings Fire and Rescue and was later suspended at 5 p.m. The search started again on Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Authorities acted as soon as possible, Miller said. Once they were notified on Monday, they issued the press release.

“People are asking why did it take us so long. We didn’t know until Monday. We got to remember what weekend did we just have…” Miller said. “It’s a very busy weekend and with the activities going on, so it wasn’t until the weekend had passed the family thought ‘there’s something wrong here’.”

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the body was sighted by a fire and rescue personnel. They had visual looking down at the top of the grain bin, the only decent observation point, according to Miller.

“At that point, we continued to lower the grain until we could safely recover the body from the site and not having to lower a firefighter down to rescue, or recover, that way,” Miller said.

At 7:30 p.m., the body was fully removed from the grain bin and was positively identified as Heisinger.

According to Miller, they believe he may have entered from a hatch at the top of the grain bin.

“As I understand it, there’s a buildup of pressure from inside the bin, so the hatch could blow off [to relieve pressure] and still be a pretty good size for someone to drop through,” Miller said.

The recovery process took several hours to complete because of the risks involved within the grain bin.

“The grain was being offloaded by various means with a couple of different grain chutes to remove the grain and more. So we had a better idea, if in fact Jacob was in there,” Miller said.

Authorities believe that Heisinger was alone when he climbed the grain bin, but his motivation is still unknown.

Heisinger’s body was transferred to LCM Sanford for an autopsy, which began at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30. All toxicology reports will be completed during the autopsy.

Stay with The Collegian for updates as the story develops.