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Authorities will discuss today whether to search the Mississippi River for a missing 21-year-old La Crosse student after police investigators found a set of footprints on its icy surface.

Craig J. Meyers, a student at Western Technical College studying criminal justice, has been missing since 2 a.m. Sunday when his cousin dropped him off on the 700 block of Market Street, according to La Crosse police.

Meyers spent Saturday night at a wedding reception and drinking at two downtown bars until leaving about 1:50 a.m., said police Capt.

Rob Abraham. Meyers believed he was being dropped off at his girlfriend's house, though the woman lives on Sixth Street.

A set of footprints leads from a snow bank between the Marriott Courtyard and the Riverside Center Buildings out onto the ice-crusted river, Abraham said.

Police and the La Crosse Dive Unit will determine whether to search the river.

"It's dangerous because it (the river) is icy, it's cold and there is no access," Abraham said.

Meyers was reported missing by family members about 11:40 a.m. Sunday when he wasn't heard from.

"This isn't like Craig at all," said his father, Ken.

Police canvassed the area where he was last seen and conducted interviews, while a Jackson County Sheriff's Department bloodhound lost Meyers' scent near the same place.

About 15 family members also searched the downtown area, Ken Meyers said.

"We were combing block to block," he said.

The search for Meyers evokes painful memories for a city that has struggled with alcohol-related drownings.

Eight college-age men drowned in area rivers between July 12, 1997, and Sept. 30, 2006, each with blood-alcohol content levels ranging from 0.20 percent to 0.42 percent. An FBI review of the drownings found no foul play or link between the victims.

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