MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – The search for a missing duck hunter has ended after a private search and rescue organization located his body in the Manitowoc River.
On Oct. 29, the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s office responded to the Manitowoc River off of West Quarry Road for a report of a missing duck hunter.
Deputies learned that 29-year-old Joshua Lueptow of Manitowoc had been hunting in the area but may have been in distress.
Authorities report having searched for Lueptow for three days using drones, aircraft, divers, sonar, K9, and surface vessels. As of Saturday, Oct. 31, all efforts were said to have been unsuccessful.
In early November, Sheriff Dan Hartwig announced the department would coordinate with private search and rescue organizations Wings for Hope Wisconsin and Northstar Search and Rescue to continue search efforts for Lueptow.
The Sheriff’s Office asked hunters to be extra observant and vigilant along the Manitowoc River as the search continued for Lueptow.
On Monday, Nov. 23, Wings of Hope Wisconsin notified the Sheriff’s Office that they had located Lueptow in about 5-6 feet of water with the assistance of sonar and an underwater drone.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m., the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team recovered Lueptow’s body from the Manitowoc River.
“His death is a tragic accident, and no foul play is suspected,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Lueptow’s family says they are forever grateful for all the volunteers, friends, and community who helped search for their loved one and supporting their family during this difficult time.
“We sincerely appreciate the help of Wings of Hope Wisconsin for helping locate Joshua along with the countless number of private and public search organizations for their willingness and efforts to drop everything to assist with this search,” Sheriff Hartwig says. “On behalf of Manitowoc County and our Sheriff’s Office, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Joshua Lueptow.”