July 31, 2005 – Madison, WI
At about 4;15 p.m. a 17-foot Larson, open-bow fiberglass Boat is found floating
near Warner Beach on Lake Mendota with no one on board. The boat's keys are in the ignition, the
radio is playing, the ladder is down and a T-shirt is on the boat's deck.
The boats owner, Darren Mellor of Brooklyn, and his friend, Christopher Dickinson of
Ridgeway, who left for a day of boating, are presumed drowned. There are no signs that they
For weeks on end, the families searched the lake and kept a vigil at the Warner Park boat launch,
near where the empty boat was found drifting. They vowed to be there every day until the men are
found. Both families were there the evening Mellor’s body was found, grieving for one son and
waiting for the other. "We'll be out here until he's found". The families have grown close during
their ordeal. "We're still out here because there's still one man out there in the water. Until
we get Chris out of there, it's not over" Many people that they don't even know have stopped by
the lakeshore to offer words of encouragement and hope to the families.
On October 12, 2005 Darren Mellor’s body was spotted floating near Spring Harbor Beach (Lake
Mendota Drive). An autopsy revealed he had drowned.
Christopher Dickinson was never found
Darren Mellor (25)
Christopher Dickinson (25)