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Andrea Arbuckle

Valley City woman 'well loved'

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Andrea Arbuckle played high school basketball with such zeal people went to games just to witness her energy.

"A lot of people used to comment that they loved to watch her play. She was an aggressive little player; she was only 5-foot-2," said Connie Tangen, hours after learning that the remains of her daughter Andrea - "Annie" to those who knew and loved her - had been found Sunday in Lake Ashtabula.

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Arbuckle, 21, of Valley City, N.D., went missing early Friday while swimming off a pontoon boat.

Searchers hunted for her for two days.

About 10:30 a.m. Sunday, just as divers were preparing for a third day of searching, Arbuckle's body surfaced near a boat operated by members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

She was found in the general area where she had disappeared, said Pete Fendt, president of Valley Water Rescue, an organization of divers that participated in the search.

Other groups and agencies that helped comb the lake included the Barnes County Sheriff's Department and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Sunday afternoon, Tangen made a point of thanking everyone who pitched in.

"They all kept on until they found her," said Tangen, adding: "We wanted her back. I guess it's what we needed for closure."

Tangen paused, searching for words to describe her daughter, who was the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and who worked at the Sheyenne Care Center, a nursing home in Valley City.

"Everyone who knew Annie will probably say the same thing, she's well loved," said Tangen.

"We've always called her Annie," Tangen added, chuckling in spite of her grief. "I don't even know why I named her Andrea. It's always been Annie."

Steve Larson, superintendent and principal at Litchville-Marion (N.D.) High School, remembered Arbuckle as a bubbly student who was quick with a smile and a hello.

On the basketball court, Larson said Arbuckle would hustle so hard it often got her into foul trouble.

"She'd foul out of games and then she'd cry. She worked so hard for the team, she felt bad when she had to go out of the game," said Larson.

"She was probably one of the best point guards that our school has ever had, and we've had a lot of good teams," said Larson.

The Barnes County Sheriff's Department has not released many details of its investigation into the incident at the lake, but Chief Deputy Mark Peterson said Sunday that an autopsy will be conducted.

A memorial for Arbuckle has been set up on the Facebook social network Web site.

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