Body of Rwanda-born Canadian athlete recovered from Lake Ontario

Steve Nkusi

The family of a 24-year-old Ottawa man who represented Canada at the 2015 Junior Pan American Games said police have recovered his body from Lake Ontario.

Nkusi was born in Kigali, Rwanda, and grew up in the Orléans area of Ottawa, his family said. He was a University of Ottawa alumnus with a finance degree who worked for the federal government while in school. He represented Canada in high jump at the 2015 Junior Pan American Games and also recently started modelling.

Steve Nkusi’s sister, Sandrine Mugeni, said last Wednesday that his body was found Tuesday. She added that the family had been hoping police would find him soon. “We’re grateful for that,” Mugeni said, crying.

Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) says it found a body in Lake Ontario, but hadn’t yet confirmed his identity.

NRPS said the body was discovered about four kilometres east of the Welland Canal and some 500 metres offshore, after responding to a 911 call from a boater.

“The identity of the body recovered by our marine could not be positively identified by our detectives and the coroner,” said Const. Philip Gavin in an email Wednesday.

“The coroner who attended ordered the body be sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) in Toronto for a post-mortem and positive identification. We are awaiting the official results from the CFS.”

A media release from police says the investigation is ongoing.

Nkusi’s family said he went missing Saturday at Sunset Beach in St. Catharines, Ont., while swimming during a friend’s birthday party.

By Monday, family members from across Canada were at the beach, looking on and consoling each other as police boats scanned the waters.

His family said Nkusi had plans to go to Rwanda to support his parents’ hotel and do charity work, like help build homes.

His cousin, Win Kayitare, said previously that “to know Steve was to love him.”