Another missing UW-Whitewater student found dead in quarry

By Vanessa Lenz

SLN staff

Local police are still looking for answers in the disappearance and death of a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student, who was found at the bottom of a quarry just outside of Whitewater city limits on Sunday morning.

The body of Benjamin R. Fuder, 21, was discovered on the property of Whitewater Limestone at about 6:45 a.m. on July 29, according to a joint news release from the Whitewater Police Department and Walworth County Sheriff’s Office.

The Walworth County coroner identified the body as Fuder, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We don’t have any indication right now of foul play or anyone else involved, but we aren’t ruling anything out,” said Walworth County Sheriff David Graves.

Fuder, an Edgerton native, was reported missing on Saturday, July 28 at 11:37 p.m. The 2009 Edgerton graduate was a UW-Whitewater junior majoring in international studies. Fuder planned to pursue a career in elementary education, according to his obituary.

He was last seen in downtown Whitewater at about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Graves said an extensive search by the Whitewater Police Department led authorities to the quarry.

“The officers were very diligent in their search efforts, facilitating getting flyers out and available shortly after Ben was reported missing,” said Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher.

The Whitewater officers started search patterns at the location where Fuder was last seen, then proceeded from that point working their way outward, according to Otterbacher.

Graves did not comment on reports that Fuder was out drinking with friends the night he went missing. He said the sheriff’s office is waiting for the results of a toxicology report for more information regarding the circumstances of Fuder’s death.

An autopsy was slated for Monday. Results were unavailable at press time.

Graves said authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.

Whitewater Police Department detectives are working closely with the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office detectives in a joint investigation.

Detectives are seeking any information individuals may have about the incident.

Graves said they are looking to talk to the unidentified person who returned Fuder’s cell phone to his girlfriend’s apartment on Saturday.

He said the person is not a suspect, but authorities are hoping he or she can provide some answers.

“We are asking that anyone with information, please give us a call,” Graves said.

Individuals with information should contact Walworth County Sheriff’s Office Detective Troy Pagenkopf at (262) 741-4426.

The incident occurred just over a year after another UW-Whitewater student was found dead at the quarry.

Graves said there is nothing connecting the two cases at this point.

The body of Mark Wegener, 20, of Franklin was found on the property of Whitewater Limestone Quarry last Memorial Day.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department closed the investigation in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s student death in November of 2011, saying that it was accidental and that there were no signs of foul play.

Wegener went missing after attending a party the night of May 27.

Whitewater Police conducted an extensive community-wide search for the UW-Whitewater junior. A tip from a man who saw Wegener walking the area of South Franklin Street brought the search to the quarry, located at 9074 Franklin St.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Fuder on Friday, Aug. 3 at Edgerton Country Club, 115 Jensen St., Edgerton.

UW-Whitewater will fly its flag at half-staff on Thursday in his memory.

The university is offering counseling services to students at University Health and Counseling Services, located in the Ambrose Health Center.

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