Nick Heynen | Wisconsin State Journal Jul 4, 2012
Stoughton police and firefighters found the body of a missing 5-year-old boy in a rainwater retention pond Tuesday evening.
The body of Jeremiah Conn, of Madison, was found after firefighters drained a retention pond near the Stoughton Fire Department building on East Main Street, Sgt. Rick Helstad of the Stoughton Police Department said.
The boy was reportedly spotted in or near the pond by a 911 caller at around 4:12 p.m., Helstad said. When officers arrived at the pond, though, they couldn’t find the boy.
Shortly thereafter, they were flagged down by a person who was looking for a missing autistic boy. They began searching the murky pond and the surrounding area with help from the Stoughton Fire Department, he said.
The boy’s shoes were found near the edge of the pond, Helstad said.
While the pond was being searched, almost 100 volunteers joined with police and fire officers to do a block-by-block search of the area, Helstad said.
But ultimately, the boy’s body was found at around 7 p.m. after the pond had been “substantially” drained, he said.
Helstad said the boy was autistic, “almost nonverbal” and “was attracted to water.” His family had brought him to Stoughton for the Stoughton Junior Fair, he said.
The police chaplain was called out to help comfort the boy’s family and the officers, firefighters and volunteers who helped with the search, Helstad said.
There is no fence around the pond where the boy’s body was found.
Helstad said the investigation into the incident has been closed and the death ruled an accidental drowning.