Roomates saw 20-year old ESL student Kenji Ohmi at the WI English as a Second Language Institute (WESLI) go to bed after a dorm party Friday, January 28. The next morning, the dorm’s surveillance camera shows Kenji walking out of the dorm. It was the last time he was seen. His body was found six months later in Lake Mendota by a wind surfer.
Ohmi was seen by his roommates after a dorm party on Friday, January 28. A videorecording also captured him leaving his apartment complex at 202 N. Hamilton St. (about 4 city blocks from Lake Mendota) at 6:45 a.m. on January 28, 2006. He did not take his wallet with him or, despite the cold rain coming down outside, his umbrella. There's no indication why Ohmi left that morning. He told no one where he was going and didn't leave a note. He was also not carrying any bags with him. Ohmi was last seen wearing a black jacket, jeans and white sneakers.
A Good Student
Amy Osorio, a WESLI co-director, said Ohmi was a student at the institute for only a month before disappearing and described him as “shy” and a “good student" who "attended class everyday and always did his homework.” Osorio added Ohmi was closest to his roommates at his Hamilton St. residence, and according to Osorio, Ohmi never showed any signs of wanting to run away. Kenji was from Kyoto, Japan and had been a student for about a month at the Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute before he disappeared.
The body of Kenji Ohmi was found in Lake Mendota near Tenney Park (about a mile from Ohmi's residence at 202 N. Hamilton St.) on June 19th, 2006 by a local windsurfer. Mike Cockrem, 46, of Madison, said he spotted the young man's body as he passed it on his wind surfboard just before 1:45 p.m. It was about one-quarter mile off the shore. The body was floating face down, wearing a dark shirt, shorts, tan socks and what may have been sneakers, Cockrem said. Cockrem ran to the lifeguard's hut to use the phone and call 911. Dane County Sheriff's Office boats and divers as well as Madison police and fire arrived just before 2 p.m. Cockrem pointed out Ohmi's body and they pulled it to shore.
The local coroner stated that Ohmi appears to have drowned, but further tests were needed. The police initially stated that were investigating the case as either a suicide or accidental death. On June 21 police announced that they did not believe it was a case of suicide and did not believe that foul play was involved. The Dane County coroner confirmed that the cause of death was drowning and that Ohmi's body had been in the lake since January.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Kenji Ohmi, 20 (exchange student from Kyoto, Japan)
College: The WI English as a Second Language Institute (Madison, WI)
Area of study: English
Physical description: 5'0," 120#, brown hair, brown eyes
Last seen: 1/28/06, 6:30 am, leaving his dormitory at 202 N. Hamilton street
Recovered: 07/17/06, Lake Mendota near 1200 block of Sherman Ave
Cause of death: drowning
Injuries: unknown, no signs of foul play
Blood Alcohol Content: unknown, probably minimal