'Hug the ones you love tightly': Loved ones hold vigil to honor man found submerged in water

Rassin's family and friends gathered Sunday night to remember him.(Source: WECT)
Rassin's family and friends gathered Sunday night to remember him.(Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The body of Julius "Cole" Rassin, who was reported missing on Feb. 16, was found in Wilmington Saturday.

Longtime family friend Lori Covington Sorensen said medical personnel and authorities believe he died from an accidental drowning.

According to Linda Thompson, a spokesperson with the Wilmington Police Department, his body was found at the foot of the Isabelle Holmes bridge. Drugs and alcohol are not considered to be factors in Rassin's death, and no foul play is suspected.

Thompson said officers responded to a call near Jel Wade Drive around 2 p.m. Saturday where police and fire crews helped to pull the body out of the water.

According to Sorensen, they do not believe it was a suicide. She said Rassin was not suicidal at the time nor had he ever been in his life.

Sorensen said Rassin spent time at the RHA Behavioral Health Center for treatment for cognitive impairments that he had. The center offered music therapy treatment, which he loved. He was released from the center in July of 2017.

The Wilmington Police Department, the CUE Center and NamUS were crucial in helping to find Rassin's body.

Rassin's body has been sent to Greenville for an official autopsy.

A vigil at St. Pauls Church on 6th and Market St. was originally planned for Sunday night at 6:15 p.m. to "Light Cole's Path Home." That official vigil was postponed. However, friends and family remembered Rassin Sunday night, lighting candles and praying.

They said Rassin was a talented musician, and would do anything for anyone.

"If Cole was downtown walking and he had a dollar or two dollars in his pocket and he saw somebody else homeless or who needed it and he thought they needed it more than him even though he didn't have any more money, he would give it to them, and that is the generosity … that is how he was to everyone … to his parents, to his brother, to his family. He was that kind of giving person, but his music was his outlet," Sorensen said.

Sorensen said St. Pauls was a place where Cole felt safe and loved.

In talking with Cole's parents, Sorensen said they want to tell the public to "hug the ones you love tightly."

An official celebration of Cole's life will be announced at a later date.

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.