Men Found Underwater After 45 Years

July 21, 2006 – Madison, WI
After a night of bar hoping February 21, 1961 Carl Stolz and Ron Wick stopped at a bait shop at 1713 Commercial Ave. buying $2 worth of mayflies and saying, "Aren't we crazy to go on the lake fishing at this hour in the morning?"

They are never seen alive again, and for 45 years nobody knew what happened to them. At the time some thought their car went through the ice, but on what lake? Others thought maybe they were unhappy with their lives and disappeared. However, Stolz was married, had a son and his wife was expecting another baby. Both men were said to enjoy their jobs at Wisco Hardware.

An intense search of Madison area lakes was conducted in 1961 after the two friends, co-workers at Wisco Hardware on the city's east side, were reported missing. Wick had told co-workers that he had discovered a dead-end road that allowed him to drive directly onto the lake. Investigators at the time discovered tracks in the sand leading from Libby Road to the lake, but the car was never found. At the time there were doubts the car was in Waubesa and later search efforts tended to focus on Lake Monona.

On July 21, 2006, however, Madison area diver Rick Krueger was using sonar in a dive when he discovered a large mass on the floor of Lake Waubesa. Returning the next day, he discovered a car and the license plate on the vehicle, T14-753, which was registered in 1961 to Wick's 1950 gray Ford Coupe.

Located 600 yards offshore in an area of the lake roughly between Lake Farm Park and Goodland Park (By Christy’s Landing). The car was upside down and covered in silt in 35 feet of water with it’s windows still intact. Small human bones have been found outside the car. A hole on the driver's side of the vehicle through which the bone fragments and cloth could have passed.

At the Shuffle Inn, Wick ran into an old girlfriend and invited her to come with them for a drive on the lake ice. They spoke of ice fishing, but she refused to go along. The two men took her home.

Wick's sister, Janice Hall, called police and reported the men missing after they didn't show up for their jobs at Wisco Hardware the next day. The report set off an intensive hunt involving hundreds of hours of work over several years by sheriff's and police personnel and even the FBI.

Early efforts included a Feb. 28 dragging operation on Lake Waubesa where the ice was open, and on March 1, a Madison Detective went up in an Air Force helicopter to search Madison-area lakes. UW-Madison loaned police its sonar equipment, but the technology failed to turn up anything.

In 1963, Madison police even brought in psychic Peter Hurkos, who was unable to find the men. Hurkos identified a large metal object in Lake Monona as a car, but the finding proved false. Hurkos later was charged with impersonating an FBI agent.

Carl Stolz (23)
Ron Wick (20)