Cold Case Investigation: The Lost of Lake County
LAKE COUNTY-A man leaving a retirement party. A sportsman paddling in a canoe. A college student up for a fishing trip. These are "the missing" of Lake County - the latest subjects of FOX 21's cold case investigations. The naturally picturesque areas of the heavily-wooded region make the cases difficult to solve, Lake County Sheriff Cary Johnson said.
In fact, immediately before FOX 21 NEWS spoke with the sheriff, his department located a suspected missing man who was visiting from New Jersey.
Other cases, however, have much longer history.
"There’s Donald Kulas from 1985,” Sheriff Johnson said. "If somebody called us tomorrow we would follow up on it."
"In cases with [missing people], it’s a family member whether it's a father or a brother or an uncle that's missing,” Johnson said.
Duane Morsette, Kulas's nephew, says he remembers his aunt's reaction when Uncle "Blackie" could not be found after a retirement get-together.
"He was the kind of guy that like to party a little bit, you know. That's why she thought he had been playing cards,” Morsette said.
The day after Kulas was last scene, his vehicle was found about 25 miles north or Two Harbors in a ditch.
There was no sign of him at the scene and he was never heard from again, according to Lake County information.
"Just a day or two after,” Morsette said,” we came up here and started looking around for him and we had four–wheelers out and a bunch of people and we were walking and that was it. We didn't know where he was or nothing."
"We're really limited on witnesses,” Sheriff Johnson said. “Anyone who would have seen what had happened or seen where they were at."
The story a person, vanishing without a trace, is similar to a Greenwood Lake case.
"There’s Charles Johnson from the Silver Bay area. He was out fishing with a friend of his who I believe was his brother-in-law,” Sheriff Johnson said.
Authorities say, back in 2002, they found his canoeing partner dead, his canoe overturned and no evidence as to what happened to the missing man.
"In this situation we figured that eventually if we didn't find him, somebody was going to find him – another person that's out fishing,” Sheriff Johnson said.
That never happened.
It is almost the same as the case of another fisherman: a 21-year-old headed to Hog Creek.
"His name was Nathaniel Williams. He was a college student from Morris,” Sheriff Johnson said.
In 2004 people spotted the sportsman's classic Ford F–15 – abandoned. It was on Kawishiwi Lake Road.
There were no signs of foul play (cash was not taken from the vehicle) but Sheriff Johnson strongly suspects he's dead.
"He went in and then either got lost in the wooded area there or maybe drowned where he went it,” Sheriff Johnson said.
Without evidence, however, the search continues - even last year.
"With the Pagami Creek fire, that was one of those things that we brought up to some of those crews in those areas,” Sheriff Johnson said. "We want them to be aware that somebody is missing in that area."
If you have any information on any of these cases The Lake County Sheriff's Department asks that you give them a call at 218-834-8385.