January 8, 2006

01/08/06: Cullen Fortney, 21, La Crosse, WI

Around 7 a.m., 21-year-old Cullen Fortney "walked into Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center sodden and caked with mud, wearing no coat and no shoes." He told hospital staff that he had fallen in to the river "but didn’t know where or how it happened."

Fortney, a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, had been visiting friends in downtown La Crosse. He and his buddies took a cab that evening from a home in the 400 block of South 20th Street to the downtown bars where he spent the evening drinking beer and mixed drinks. (There is some speculation this may have been John's Bar where Jared Dion also disappeared.)

According to police reports, Fortney said he left the downtown bars about 1:45 a.m. when he became separated from his friends Jay Larson and Jay Hoffland. He remembers very little after that until he found himself in the river, fighting a strong current that was rapidly carrying him downstream. After an estimated 15 minutes, he was able to grab onto a tall concrete structure and pull himself out. Later, he awoke on a rocky bank near Gundersen Lutheran, with the sound of traffic over his left shoulder. He told police he had likely passed out. He still had his wallet, but he had lost his hat, coat, shoes, cell phone and $20 in cash. The man’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.043 about 9 a.m. Sunday, which means it would have been 0.163 about 1:30 a.m.

The Investigation
According to Roger Putnam, Fortney’s uncle and family spokesman, a full toxicology report revealed no suspicious substances in Fortney’s system. This supports La Crosse police’s earlier conclusion that foul play was not involved, Putnam said.“(The family) continues to believe the La Crosse Police Department did an outstanding job on the investigation,” he said.

On January 13, investigators concluded that Fortney had fallen into the river, thought to be about 32 degrees that night, but did not go under water. After Fortney narrowed down where he might have gone in, police found some of his personal items near the river’s edge.

An Odd Twist
La Crosse police Capt. Rob Abraham said the investigation has been suspended, though it is not considered closed. The case of a truck reported stolen that same night by a companion of Fortney’s has been cleared, police said. Nick Thompson, 25, also of Viroqua, turned up the same morning as Fortney at the same hospital, passed out in the lobby, police said. He told police he didn’t know how he got there, and his pickup truck, which he had parked in the Wettstein’s lot, was missing. The vehicle was found in the 900 block of King Street. Video footage from the Wettstein’s lot showed a man with keys entering the truck about 3 a.m. and driving away, Abraham said. While the footage isn’t sharp, the man is thought to be Thompson, Abraham said. Police do not believe the truck was stolen, Abraham said, and the investigation has ended.

Quick Facts:
Name/age: Cullen Fortney, 21, LaCrosse, WI
Hometown: Viroqua, Wis.,
College: University of Wisconsin-Madison student
Last Seen: 1/8/06 1:45 a.m.
Recovered alive: 1/8/06 7:00 a.m.
River temperature: 32 degrees


Lee said...

Cullen Fortney was at John's Bar in Lacrosse, WI with friends. At 1:30 a.m. he was no where to be seen. His friends searched for him for hours with no luck. When he checked himself into the ER, he stated that all he could remember was being at the bar around 1:30 a.m., and then finding himself in the middle of the river, fighting the strong current. He remembers nothing between 1:30 a.m. and coming to in the middle of the river.

Anonymous said...

This is more proof that these people are being drugged with date rape drug, which causes amnesia. They should look for links and patterns amongst drink servers. One of the mp's was reported to have been disoriented after only being at the bar for a half hour.

BoyintheMachine said...

Att: 'lee said...' and 'anonymous'

The Cullen Fortney case is interesting but there isn't any proof one way or the other.

It could very well be that this is a simple case of an accident.

Now, if they found bruises or other trauma on his body that might indicate he was in a fight or struggling against someone, then it could be an indication that he was thrown into the water, but otherwise...I'm not so sure it's connected.

At least he survived and he's a very lucky man for that.

Lisa said...

All of these cases could really be interpreted either as an accident or as homicide. We don't really know anything for sure. I have posted Cullen Fortney's story because he was yet another young male intoxicated in La Crosse who ended up in the water somehow.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought about these acts are possibly being committed by some of Bin Ladin's boys?
Sort of like tit for tat for their loss of soldiers and confederates?
whomever is behind this appears to be quite organized.

Nighthawk said...

Has anyone thought of Rohypnol, it is commonly called the date rape drug. Women are always aware of their drinks at a club, but guys could care less. To me it is a chance they would take by trying one. In other words the circumstances are always the same, has anyone else been drugged maybe several days before and the killer had no opportunity to take them because their friends were really watching over them?

Courtney said...

Question - I'm pretty new to looking into these cases and I'm intrigued to say the least. But these men were all college students, right? There are plenty of other young guys that go out to the bars, why is it specifically academically intelligent, athletic college men that are going missing?

Does anyone know if these men all had Facebook/MySpace and if their profiles were opened or closed?

Anonymous said...

Luke's fb account was closed shortly after his death.

Lisa said...

A good many of these young men did have Facebook/My Space accounts. However, it is really hard to determine whether these pages were created before the student went missing...or afterward by family and friends to help get the word out about his disappearance.

Anonymous said...

Guys need to start being more vigilent about what they drink. My husband was drugged when he was a student at Ohio State, where a number of men have also disappeared. A girl handed him a full open beer, saying she couldn't drink anymore, and didn't want to waste the beer. He has a good tolerance and hadn't had much to drink before that beer. The next thing he remembers is waking up the following morning, disoriented, and on the streets far across town (luckily not in any water). He still had his keys and wallet, but none of his friends recalls how he got separated. They all say he "suddenly just vanished." A passerby had to help him call a cab the next morning as he was entirely disoriented and had no clue where he was or how to get home.

cursed13 said...

the lack of bruises indicates someone else is involved

Monique777 said...

Was Anonymous 1

A friend of mine was out celebrating her Birthday. She suddenly started acting spacey, disoriented and because the night was still young her friends noticed and brought her to the hospital. They took care of her, ran a tox. screen but didn't find anything. Her father demanded further testing for the date rape drug because of his daughter's condition. Sure enough, it came back positive for Rohypnol. The next day my friend could not remember anything and wondered why she was in the hospital.
This killer uses a drug that isn't detected in a basic tox. screen. No doubt.

monique777 said...

Rohtpnol=GHB "the date rape drug"

Once ingested, very fast acting. Leaves body in 72 hours. Person who is drugged looses some or all memory.

" They are not found in any routine toxicology screen or blood test-doctors and police have to be looking specifically for them"

Seems Cullen Fortney was given GHB and is very lucky to be alive!


monique777 said...

Whoops: Correction, It's Rohypnol=GHB

Mary Beth said...

Reviewing this case and similar, seemingly related cases do bring similarities to light, mostly that they are white, athletic, college-aged males. That group tends to be the ones going out to bars so naturally this similarity occurs.

It is very possible that any one of these men wake up with a number of unexplained bruises and soreness, usually from drunkenly wandering around. I've had a few in my day myself. Its also not uncommon to black out on as few as 10 beer and not remember much of anything. It all depends on how much you've been drinking lately, what you ate that day, hydration levels in the body, etc. The presence of a date rape drug would only worsen the effects but my concern is that he actually fought the current and saved himself. If you've never been "roofied" as its often called, motor skills are practically non-existent. In some cases, moving your body would be entirely impossible.
In many of these cases, the river is a prominent downtown feature, often with bridges and walkways along them. Its not surprising to me at all for anyone to end up near the water. The simplest explanation is often the correct one. I'm not saying that any of these young men did not encounter a person or persons in the entirety of their evening who didn't have bad intentions, but that its more likely that they simply wandered towards the water.

Anonymous said...

This is odd . There is Fortney, Ohmi Radel and then Shaffer that went to a Brothers bar and Brothers Bars are owned by the Fortney brothers

Anonymous said...

The pattern has 2 asian men and ends with Shaffer that went missing the same day as Huaijun Meng-huAIJUN MENg

Diane said...

Well, more and more of our young men will be murdered by various satanic groups around the country. Many high level police chiefs and other high-level people in the city and other cities and also not so high-leveled people are involved in this. In order to get to many higher positions, they become involved in these kinds of things, if they want to get to where they want to be. This is going on all over the country. I have done much researching on this. My research did not come from the internet, but from books, various writings and meetings with people. I have also known someone who was involved in this kind of think (of course not with murders) and has since become a Christian. Of course, you have to be into it very heavily, in order to commit murder. I use to live in LaCrosse and have gone to visit for many years. Never, ever, did anyone who had too much to drink decide to leave their friends and fall or jump into a body of water. I don't know anyone who goes to a bar or a party, who just leaves without saying something to a friend. The only way, this can be is, if the person was drugged and other people walked him out or away from friends. If walking home from a bar, someone would have had to pull that person into their van or car, drug them immediately to subdue them, and throw them into a body of water. hence no brusises. You are right, this particular drug they use causes loss of memory. I believe when someone is drunk, they eventually remember things, but with this drug, they do not. I believe I might have mentioned before that I talked with a girl from Eau Claire who told me she had only one drink at a bar and felt drugged. She had noticed that the bartender and others were looking at her and then she pasted out. Luckily for her, she knew the DJ at the bar and he kept his eye on her and took her home. You have to ask yourself why would all of the police think alike on all of these murders in various cities. Why are all the people realizing these are murders, if they are thinking people, and nothing is being done. On this last one, there was a minute or less on television about it. Does this not tell you how extensive and high up this goes throughout the country. Nothing on the national news, at least I did not see it. What would be the reason for this, if not for sacrificial purposes, of people who think they will receive power and fame for doing this because satan demands it. People out there, please wake up. Do research. Understand what is really going on. This is a war between God and satan. It is a spiritual war. Please do not let the police tell you something different. Think for yourselves.

demji said...

There are several things about Cullen Fortney's situation that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around. Perhaps someone with more knowledge or experience can enlighten me on these areas. I lived in La Crosse for 40 years before moving, so I'm familiar with the town, the river, and January weather there. According to historic weather data, the temps between 1:45 and 8:00 AM on 1-8-06 were in the very low 30's with fairly high humidity and a light breeze. That's going to be cold for almost anyone--and far more so for someone who is wet and half-dressed. If Fortney was exposed to these conditions for the better part of 5 hours or so--how did he escape hypothermia? As well, he most likely entered the river somewhere near the downtown area--but ended up emerging at the south end of town near Gunderson-Lutheran hospital. That's roughly about a 2.5 mile distance as the crow flies--more, obviously, taking into consideration the bends and curves of the river. That's quite a distance to be fighting the river, when you're cold and have been drinking heavily. He also noted he was having to fight the river current, which would not have carried him into the small channel between Isle Le Plume and the Lutheran Hospital area, where he seems to have ended up, but past Isle le Plume into the main river channel. Can anyone offer some insight?

kelly54656 said...

Did no one read that he was drug tested and there was nothing in his system... If he would have been slipped date rape drugs they would still be in his system the next morning..l

Mbaz said...

That just shows how ignorant you are. GHB leaves the system in 5-7 hours and when the subject is in water, that process is accelerated.

Cullen is the key to everything.

There are 4-5 hours of his night that are unaccounted for. Had he been in the water the entire night, he would have died of hypothermia. So what was happening to him in the 4 hours that he was unaccounted for? Obviously he didnt walk over to the lake, wait 4 hours, and then jump in. He was alive at 7 am, and hypothermia would have killed him in less than 10 minutes.

Someone put him in the lake at 6:50 , and the motive behind the lacrosse drownings becomes that much more perspicuous.

Tom David said...

100% correct, Diane!