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Searchers find 3rd body in Wisconsin lake; 1 remains missing

  • Members of the East Troy fire department prepare to head out on a boat as the search for missing canoeists continues in East Troy, Wis., today. Divers are battling frigid water as they search for two Illinois men who went missing at a southern Wisconsin lake, after the bodies of two of their friends were pulled from the water. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

EAST TROY, Wis. » Search crews recovered a third body from a frigid lake in southern Wisconsin on Monday after four Illinois men went missing from a lake house where they were staying with friends.

Crews have been scouring Mill Lake, which is part of the Lake Beulah chain about 35 miles southeast of Milwaukee, since the men were reported missing Sunday.

Friends told investigators the men, aged 20 to 23, went outside to smoke around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, but they hadn’t come back by the time everyone else went to sleep. The friends discovered the four were missing around 9 a.m., after finding footprints in the snow to the boathouse and a canoe overturned in the lake.

Two bodies were recovered from the water shortly after the search began. Authorities have identified those victims as 20-year-old Lanny Patrick Sack and 21-year-old Christopher J. McQuillan.

The body recovered Monday afternoon wasn’t immediately identified.

The search for the fourth man ended for the evening at nightfall Monday, but the search will resume Tuesday morning, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Warden Jason Roberts said.

No personal flotation devices or life jackets were found in the water at the scene, he said. Roberts said alcohol was involved but it’s unclear if that was a factor in the deaths, which he said appeared to be “a confluence of bad choices that ended rather tragically on this New Year’s.”

The cold water and weather have combined to make searching difficult, Walworth County Sheriff Kurt Picknell said.

McQuillan’s father declined to comment to The Associated Press. But he told the Chicago Tribune that a relative of one of his son’s friends called him Sunday to say Christopher McQuillan was missing.

Joe McQuillan said he later learned his son was among the four men who disappeared in Wisconsin.

“He was just gone. He kind of slipped through our fingers like water,” he told the newspaper. “But he knew he was loved.”

Messages left with phone numbers listed for Sack’s relatives weren’t immediately returned.

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  • My condolences to the young men’s families. Young guns sometimes make foolish mistakes. I made many of them. Too bad they had to pay with their lives.

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