Loved ones pay tribute to former championship swimmer found dead in US Virgin Islands


(NEW YORK) — As investigators in the U.S. Virgin Islands await results of an autopsy on former American championship swimmer Jamie Cail, who died after being found unresponsive at her home last month, friends and loved ones are paying tribute to her online, describing her as a “beautiful” person and a “sweet soul.”

In a post on his Facebook page, the 42-year-old Cail’s father, Gary Cail of Maine, issued a two-word statement, writing, “So devastating.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has opened an investigation into Cail’s death, but have released little information on the progress of the probe.

“The VIPD Criminal Investigations Bureau, Major Crimes Unit, is awaiting the autopsy report to determine the cause of death,” Glen Dratte, a spokesman for the department, said in a statement.

Cail’s boyfriend, whose name was not released by authorities, told detectives he found her just after midnight on Feb. 21 unresponsive on the floor of a residence they shared in St. Johns, according to police. He said he found her after leaving a local bar to go back to the residence to check on her, police said.

The boyfriend said he and a friend took Cail in a private car to the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic, where efforts to save her life failed, according to police.

Police were notified of the death about 2:39 a.m. on the day she was brought to the hospital, authorities said.

“We are all devastated as a family,” Jessica DeVries, who identified herself as Cail’s cousin, said on a Facebook tribute page for Cail.

DeVries wrote that Cail’s parents “are absolutely shook to the core.”

“We are all mourning together and are unbelievably grateful and blessed by the outpouring of love and uplifting experiences you are sharing with us,” DeVries wrote on the tribute page.

Nicole Thibodeau, who also described herself as Cail’s cousin, added in a Facebook post, “Our hearts are broken. Hard to imagine it’s real.”

Cail was originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, and was a star swimmer for much of her youth, her family told ABC affiliate station WMUR in Manchester.

She was also a member of the University of Maine women’s swim team in the 2000-2001 academic year, according to the school’s alumni association.

As a teenager, Cail was a member of a women’s relay team that won a gold medal at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships, according to, an online swimming news site.

Lindsay Mintenko, director of USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the United State, released a statement, saying, she and her entire organization “is saddened to hear of Jamie Cail’s passing.”

“Jamie was a proud member of our National Teams in the late 1990s and was a cherished teammate,” Mintenko said. “We extend our condolences to Jamie’s friends and family.”

Other friends and acquaintances of Cail posted tributes to her on the Facebook, describing her as being “a truly a sweet soul” and “a bright light.”

One friend wrote, “Her smile made you feel good even when you weren’t at your best.”

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