On my way downtown last week, I stopped and spoke briefly with a gentleman holding a large poster that said Have You Seen Tom Hecht?, one of many people lining Water St. I expressed my concern & hope that he would be found safe, but, like many of us who have been paying attention these past few years, I already was pretty sure I knew the outcome – they’d find him, sooner or later, in the water.
This whole frightening mess started on September 28, 1997 when Charles Blatz, 28, went missing in LaCrosse, WI. They found him October 3, 1997 in the MIssissippi – “no signs of foul play.”
Then came: Anthony Skilton, 19 – missing 10/10/97,found 10/20 -in the Mississippi; Nathan Kapfer, 20 – missing 2/22/98, found 4/4; Jeffrey Geesey, 21, missing 4/11/99, found 5/24.
The venue changes: Craig Burrows, 23, missing 9/29/02 Eau Claire, Wi, found 10/06 in Half Moon Lake; and Michael Noll, 22, missing 11/6/02, not found till 8/19/03 , again in Half Moon Lake.
The pattern skips from one place to another – Nathan herr, 21, Sheboygan in 2003, back to LaCrosse with Jared Dion, 21, back to EauClaire in 2004 with Joshua Snell, 22, to Madison with Kenji Ohnri, 20, then back to LaCrosse and on and on . . . .
One very lucky young man, Cullen Fortney, 21, found himelf in the Mississippi on January 8, 2006, with no idea of how he ended up in the water. He managed to reach shore and head for a hospital, where, admittedly drunk, he was checked over and found OK. He recalled leaving his friends at a bar, then nothing till he woke up in the icy water.
My faith in law enforcement is sketchy at best – in Milwaukee, you’re probably better off to call a priest than the police, so at least you’ll get last rites. When I last called them because one woman was beating another bloody with a broom handle in front of my house, they came 2 hours later- apparently I was supposed to ask the women to wait ! So, as you might imagine, listening to the crap being distributed about these stunningly obvious crimes makes me furious. I can only imagine what the parents of these young men must have gone through – and are going through still. The last “accident” before Tom Hecht’s death was in Stevens Point, not that long ago – at an average of 2 per year, there’s bound to be another one coming up.
There are a number of links you can visit for more info: www.weau.com has an article by reporter Mary Rinzel that offers what sounds like a pretty plausible theory posed by two retired NYPD detectives, and a chronology of the missing. The bottom line is, warn the young men you love never, NEVER to leave a bar/restaurant/party alone.
And don’t believe what you hear in the media – these are no accidents!