The Madison Police Department and the Dance County Sheriff’s Department worked together after receiving help from a private citizen to locate and retrieve the body of a man who went missing in January from Lake Monona.
Charles Geurts, a 26-year-old Kaukana man, was last seen on Jan. 16 while he was staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison. Law enforcement officials were able to retrieve his body this week and thus help his family receive some closure.
MPD Capt. Joe Balles said the retrieval of the body was only possible after many months of cooperation among local law enforcement officials and the use of police dogs. A local resident, who used sonar technology on his boat, located the body after the dogs had located where the general location of the body was, Balles said.
Balles thanked the local community for helping with the extensive ground search for Geurts and distributing missing person flyers in the days after he went missing. Geurts was reported missing by coworkers the afternoon after the night he fell into the lake.
He said law enforcement officials had ruled out foul play as a cause of the death. He speculated Geurts had gotten disoriented and walked onto the lake.
The law enforcement officials used the K9s frequently throughout January, February and March in an attempt to locate Geurts and track his scent.
Over 50 friends and family members of the Geurts’ came to Madison to search for him after he was declared missing, Balles said. He was also scheduled to get married in September, Balles said.
“There’s a lot of grieving hearts today,” Balles said.
Balles said law enforcement officials and the K9s searched much of Lake Monona, which is over five square miles. He said when Geurts fell into the lake in January, it was two-thirds frozen over. The body was able to be recovered recently because the lake is not longer frozen over, which makes searching easier, he said.
Julie Foley, the crime response program manager in the Dane County District Attorney’s Office said many resources were put into the case because they wanted to do everything possible to help Geurts’ loved ones.
“They did this because they needed to bring Charlie home to his family and his fiance,” Foley said. “When they went out there [on the lake]. It wasn’t work as usual. It was clearly a labor of love that this family is so deserving of.”