December 12, 2002

12/12/02: Chad Sharon, 18, South Bend, IN

Chad Sharon, 18, an only child, all-state scholar and life-long straight-A student on full-ride scholarship to Notre Dame left the off-campus party at on South Bend’s northeast side. He did not have a car on campus but declined a ride, telling his friends he would walk the half-mile back to campus. Chad’s body was later found in the St. Joseph River, partially submerged under the Angela Street bridge at North Shore Avenue in South Bend.

After that, Chad’s movements become sketchy. A security officer at Madison Center Hospital [403 E. Madison St] reported giving directions to a man closely matching Sharon's description around 4 a.m. The employee thought he smelled alcohol on the man, but the student did not appear to be overly intoxicated. The man asked for directions to a convenience store, so the officer directed him to the 7-11 at the corner of Niles and LaSalle Avenue. The officer saw the young man walk south toward the convenience store.

No one at the 7-Eleven remembers seeing Sharon or anyone matching his description. He wasn't recorded on the security tape, and no calls placed from pay phones were to the Notre Dame campus. Although Sharon told friends he would be heading back to campus, the hospital is a farther away from Notre Dame than the party. Dogs picked up Sharon’s scent in the Madison Center area but did not find his scent at the off-campus party.

Chad’s body was later found in the St. Joseph River, partially submerged under the Angela Street bridge at North Shore Avenue in South Bend. Investigators say temperatures were in the 20s that night. The deputy coroner says the cold temperatures since his disappearance helped both the autopsy and toxicology reports because Sharon's organs were more preserved.

Facts of Interest in This Case
Name/age: Chad Sharon, 18 (from Pelican Lake, WI)
College: The University of Notre Dame
Physical description: physically fit (involved in Irish dance team)
Last seen: 12/12/02, 2 a.m., off-campus party at 520 Corby Blvd, South Bend, IN, then near Madison Center Hospital [403 E. Madison St] about 4 a.m.
Recovered: 02/12/03, St. Joseph River
Cause of death: drowning
Injuries: no injuries, no signs of struggle
Blood Alcohol Content: 0.2


Anonymous said...

Steffey becomes fifth missing Indiana student in past six years
>>Print View

By Joey Marburger

Features Editor

Publication Date: 02/09/2007

On Jan. 13, Wade Steffey disappeared. It's been 28 days.

Snow covers the fields, which have been searched for clues on Steffey's disappearance. And the days have grown colder, just like the clues.

Steffey, a freshman in the College of Technology, is one of five college students who have gone missing in Indiana in the past six years. Two students are still missing and three are dead.

Some cases are closed, some remain open and some have changed. Yet, the search for Steffey continues.

Almost four weeks into the search, Steffey's roommate, Ben Buckner, is starting to wonder.

"It's kind of hitting hard lately," said Buckner, a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts. "I guess things are kind of dwindling down. It's just been a really long time."

One police officer who worked on the case of missing Indiana University student Jill Behrman remembered the Bloomington police's course of action and what they did when the case started to get cold.

"It becomes a balancing act after a while," said Capt. Joe Qualters of the Bloomington Police Department.

"Early on you get a lot of information, a lot of that info has to be tracked down as potentially worthwhile," said Qualters. "(But) if you have nothing to follow up on, it will always remain an open case."

Buckner will be attending a vigil for Steffey in their hometown of Bloomington, Ind. But for now, the reality of being alone in his residence hall room has been a struggle.

"I try to spend a lot of time across the hall with my friends there and stay out of my room," said Buckner. "I've gotten used to my room being quiet and empty but it's a lot different than it used to be."

Chad Sharon

Age and class: 18, freshman at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Sex: Male

Date missing: Dec. 12, 2002

Result: Sharon's body was found on Feb. 12, 2003, in the St. Joseph River in South Bend, Ind. An autopsy concluded that he had drowned. Police suspected the freezing weather would have caused hypothermia. Also, the autopsy showed his blood alcohol level was 0.224.

Scott Javins

Age and class: 20, sophomore at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.

Sex: Male

Date missing: May 24, 2002

Result: After almost 4 1/2 years, Javins is still missing. His parents, Merv and Doreena Javins, withdrew a reward for him that expired on Nov. 26, 2006.

Christopher Thiem

Age and class: 19, former student of Vincennes University in Vincennes, Ind.

Sex: Male

Date missing: Jan. 12, 2005

Result: Thiem's body was found in April 2005 near the Wabash River near Carmi, Ill.

Wade Steffey

Age and class: 19, freshman at Purdue

Sex: Male

Date missing: Jan. 13

Result: After almost four weeks, Steffey is still missing.

Assistant campus editor Steve Garbacz contributed to this report.

Anonymous said...


Wade Steffey turns up dead on campus grounds two months after he went missing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Investigation into Wade's death
Key questions, partial answers in Wade Steffey's death


Four weeks after the body of missing Purdue University freshman Wade Steffey was found in Owen Hall, questions remain. Here's a summary of what officials say they know about the case, and what remains to be found out:

Question: Is there any new information to explain why Steffey went into a high-voltage utility room at Owen Hall, and how he got in?

Answer:Officials believe Steffey tried several doors to get inside Owen Hall, the dorm where he had left his coat prior to attending a fraternity party.

At the time of Steffey's disappearance, the outside door to the high-voltage utility room or vault was not marked with a high-voltage warning sign. The door, which is supposed to automatically lock when closed, was found unlocked when Steffey's body was discovered March 19. The locks were sent to get tested.

Q: Why wasn't the utility room thoroughly searched before the day Steffey's body was found?

A: University spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg has said that someone did check the room from the interior door but did not go further into the room because doing so would have meant that power would have to be shut off at Owen.

Officials at that time had no reason to think that Steffey might have gained access to the room. His body apparently was not visible from either entrance, and the room was dark.

This past week, lawyers for Steffey's parents said they walked into the utility room without the power being turned off.

Q: What tests were done on the door lock?

A: As part of the death investigation, Purdue sent the door lock to an outside agency to see whether it had been tampered with or was faulty.

Purdue is not commenting on whether the tests results have been returned. The Journal & Courier on April 4 asked for copies of the test results when available. As of Friday, the university had not produced them.

Q: What are the results of the toxicology report?

A: The Tippecanoe County coroner's office asked for a toxicology report when Steffey's autopsy was done.

Coroner Donna Avolt said Thursday that results can take several weeks and that she does not yet have those results.

Scott Montross, an attorney representing Steffey's parents, Dale Steffey and Dawn Adams, said his clients are not expecting to receive any information from the toxicology report "that would be negative with regard to Wade."

Q: Why do authorities believe there was no foul play involved?

A: The coroner's office ruled that Steffey stumbled on some cables in the electrical vault and was accidentally electrocuted.

Avolt said there's nothing to indicate otherwise, explaining that the autopsy and pattern marks on the body can help indicate how someone died.

Q: When was the last time the utility room door lock was checked?

A: On March 28, the Journal & Courier submitted a request under Indiana's Access to Public Records Act for the vault's maintenance logs. Purdue's public records officer, Lucia Anderson, this past week said the information was still being compiled. As of Friday, no records had been produced.

Q: What's the latest on Purdue's internal investigation?

A: Purdue officials are not commenting on the investigation, which is being overseen by Morgan Olsen, Purdue's executive vice president and treasurer. Olsen did not return a telephone message left at his office seeking comment.

Norberg said a full report will be made available once the inquiry is done. Rimkus Consulting Group Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in accident reconstruction, recently was hired to assist Purdue in its probe.

Q: What about the shoe found outside the utility room door? Why wasn't it reported by police until after the body was found?

A: Steffey's shoe, described as a plaid-lined brown moccasin, was found Jan. 23 by a maintenance employee after he drained the door well outside the utility room.

In an e-mail to Norberg from Purdue Police Chief Gary Evans, Evans said several clothing items, including shoes, were collected during the search -- but no one had said that Steffey wore slippers the night he disappeared.

"The slipper was not considered material to the case at that time," Evans wrote. Officials learned it was Steffey's shoe when the matching shoe was found with his body.

Q: Will a lawsuit be filed, and if so, when?

A: Montross said the family is considering filing a claim against Purdue. He is hoping the parties can reach some type of agreement before a suit is filed.

Montross did not have a timeline because any legal action will depend in part on results of the university's investigation.

1:54 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment -

Anonymous said...


In an e-mail to Norberg from Purdue Police Chief Gary Evans, Evans said several clothing items, including shoes, were collected during the search -- but no one had said that Steffey wore slippers the night he disappeared.


Anonymous said...

whilst searching
they found a moccason shoe outside an open elctric genrator door!

move along nothing to see here, after all we didnt know he wore mocasson slipers.

picure it a shoe infront of an open door, but wait did it looked closed?
you mean it had sung back afterwards and looked like a "single" slipper infront of a locked geenrator room door?
why was it then found unlocked if it had closed properly?
its an automatic lock!!

i bet theres some wieght on that door yes?

i bet you have to apply a bit of force to open it, push on it yes?

Wade must have really wanted to get into that dead end generator room so much so he didnt care about his slipper coming off.
who cares about my foot wear i want to go into a genrator room that leads nowhere?

Or did it lead anywahere, the description is not clear.
but hey all the better.

Anonymous said...

They were aware of the slipper

"The slipper was not considered material to the case at that time," Evans wrote. Officials learned it was Steffey's shoe when the matching shoe was found with his body.

we didnt know he wore slippers you see.

well ofcourse you are not sphycic how are you expected to know such a thing!
why not ask or show the slipper?
but no, "The slipper was not considered material to the case at that time,"
not considered hmm i see yeh tha's right it was not considered at all.