Police solve mystery of abandoned ice fishing gear: “I was just grateful he was alive”

NAPOLEON TWP., MI – The mystery of who left ice fishing gear by a hole in a lake in Napoleon Township has been solved.

Two 14-year-old boys went ice fishing on Thursday (January 7) to a place their father told them not to go, when they then fell through the ice in Lake Mellencamp, the chief said. Napoleon Township Police, Duaine Pittman.

They were able to get out of the lake safely.

Police seek answers after ice fishing gear found near open hole goes unclaimed, no missing people reported

Most of the teens’ gear fell into the lake and they told their dad there was nothing to retrieve, Pittman said. They also told their father that they were in a different place than they actually were.

“The kids were in an area where they weren’t supposed to be, so they didn’t exactly tell their dad the right information,” Pittman said.

Mellencamp Lake is a popular ice fishing spot when the ice is safe, Pittman said. The lake was erroneously reported as Little Wolf Lake in a previous article. The lakes on the northeast side of the township are connected but separated by Wolf Lake Road.

Police were called on Saturday January 9 at Lake Mellencamp because fishing equipment remained near a hole. There were signs that someone may have fallen into and out of the lake, Pittman said previously.

About an inch and a half of ice had refrozen above the hole, Pittman said. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office dive team and the Napoleon Township Fire Department searched for a body under the ice, but found nothing. They recovered ice fishing gear.

Police went door-to-door on Saturday to see if anyone had seen anything or had a missing person to report, but there were no missing people in the area.

The father saw reports on social media about the discovery of ice fishing gear and contacted police in Napoleon Township.

The equipment was returned on Monday, January 11. Police also had a discussion with the boy about the importance of being honest and listening to parents, Pittman said.

“If you could have seen the look on these children’s faces when the father brought them in, they were scared to death,” Pittman said. “I think the father wanted me to be tougher than me, but I was just thankful that he was alive.”

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