The news that his longtime friend William Jacobson had disappeared after a theme party at his East Coast college was a terrible shock to Wil Anderson.

But he wasn't surprised that Jacobson had been dressed as William Shakespeare at the party. A year ago, when the two attended St. Paul's Central High School, Anderson said, Jacobson enjoyed wearing a vest and a white long-sleeved dress shirt.

"And he did love Shakespeare very much," he said.

On Wednesday morning, divers found the body of Jacobson, 19, known as Willie to his friends, in a pond less than half a mile from the house party at Ithaca College in upstate New York, college spokesman Dave Maley said.

There were no indications of foul play, but police are investigating.

Jacobson, a lover of literature, was a freshman majoring in writing, Maley said. He was last seen between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Sunday at the party.

His roommate reported him missing Monday night.

According to interviews with party-goers, Jacobson had been drinking during the theme event, Maley said. But whether alcohol was a factor in his death has yet to be determined, he added. Police are awaiting toxicology results.

Jacobson's body was found in a retention pond that is just down an embankment from a sidewalk that Jacobson could have been using to get home early Sunday, Maley said.

Asked if it were possible to tumble into the pond, Maley said, "It's conceivable, yes," but that it was too early to know exactly what happened.

Jacobson still had his wallet and his cell phone with him, he said.

An on-campus vigil was held Wednesday night.

Maley said that Jacobson's mother and brother arrived on campus Tuesday, and that other family members were on their way. Family members did not attend a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

No comment, locally

At Central High School, officials and staff members declined to comment about Jacobson "out of respect to the family," St. Paul schools spokesman Howie Padilla said.

In the 2006-07 school yearbook, Jacobson is pictured with fellow graduate Shane Davis in a "Best Buds" section dedicated to the senior class. He also is depicted -- along with Davis and Anderson -- as a member of the student group Youth Against War and Racism.

When his body was found, college President Peggy Williams said in a written statement: "We all grieve the loss of this bright young man -- an incredibly talented student with many close friends and so much potential."

Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report. Anthony Lonetree • 651-298-1545