August 2, 2012

07/28/12: Benjamin Fuder, 21, Whitewater, WI

Benjamin Fuder
Benjamin Fuder, a 21-year old student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was last seen in leaving the Hawk's Nest Bar and Grill in downtown Whitewater, Wisc., around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2012. The State Journal has reported that Fuder's friends told him to go home because he was intoxicated. It was the last time he was seen. Benjamin Fuder was reported missing at 11:37 p.m. that night.

Someone found Fuder's phone and used it to contact his girlfriend to ask how to return it to him. Fuder's girlfriend then directed him to leave it at his residence. The person put it in the mailbox anonymously, and police would like to find out where the phone was found.

It has also been reported that someone told Fuder's father, Bradley Fuder, that his son's wallet was found Saturday afternoon at the top of an outdoor staircase.

On Sunday, July 29 about 6:45 a.m., Fuder's body was found in the bottom of the Whitewater Limestone Quarry below the north rim. The quarry is just outside Whitewater's southern limits, in Walworth County, on Franklin Street just north of the Highway 12 bypass. According to the Walworth County Today, "It can be seen clearly from Highway 12." The entrance to the quarry is about one mile from the bar where Fuder was last seen.

The coroner identified the body as Fuder and pronounced him dead at the scene, and foul play was not suspected.

The Fuder family has asked for anyone with information to come forward.

According to a report by NBC15:

Some of the circumstances surrounding Benjamin's death seem mysterious--and his family says they have questions about what happened to him. "He would have had to leave the bar, get something to eat and walk over a mile past his house just to reach this point," described his brother, Shane.

To get to the quarry, Shane says he would have had to have walked way past his residence--in the dark. "He would have had to walk down the street here, no sidewalk, no lights, no houses, no reason to come here," said Shane. "Stumbled all this way, a mile past his house down this gravel road and through some really thick brush."

Family members say he knew his way home--and he wasn't depressed--so it seems unlikely that he'd have wandered to the area intentionally. That's why they think this may not have been an accident.

"This was not a slip and fall accident, this was not a suicide obviously, he was, you know, the target," said Joshua Fuder, another of Benjamin's siblings.

They say they're hoping the official investigation yields some answers for them.

They want to know if Benjamin might have been drugged.

Shane says they're having a third party conduct a toxicology report.

"We've decided not to cremate him yet," he said. "We're going to wait until we can do our own toxicology report and have someone else we supplied go over the evidence and the body and stuff. So we don't want to, you know, we're trying to stay objective trying to do this right so we don't regret anything down the road."

Benjamin Fuder is the second UW-W student in 14 months to be found deceased in the quarry.

According to the Walworth County Today, "The body of 20-year-old Mark J. Wegener, a UW-Whitewater student, was found at the bottom of the quarry May 30, 2011. Police say he left a party about 1 a.m. May 29, 2011, and was not seen again until his body was discovered. Authorities at the time said Wegener apparently fell from a 70-foot ledge. His death was ruled an accident. An autopsy revealed Wegener had a blood-alcohol content of 0.106, which would be above the legal limit to drive."

Police believe the only similarity between the two incidents is that both victims appeared to be alone.

According the same paper, there is a dirt lane, which runs under power lines, that leads to the quarry's north rim. There are posted signs advising people not to enter without permission. The road to the bottom of the quarry is gated and locked after hours. While there is no fence around the rim of the quarry, a worker told the paper that there have been no reports of people partying at the quarry or hanging out after hours. He also said that while there is a small pool of water at the bottom of the quarry, it is continually pumped and not suitable for swimming. He said the quarry is operated by Whitewater Limestone, a subsidiary of BR Amon and Mann Brothers of Elkhorn, Wisc.

Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher confirmed to the paper that there have been no reports of incidents at the quarry.

On October 10, 2012, the Walworth County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Benjamin Fuder an accident. According to a Press Release from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office, the cause of death was "due to a fall from the rim to the floor of the limestone quarry. The death was due to traumatic head trauma along with significant other conditions, which were the presence of ethanol, cannabinoids and psilocin. The Walworth County Sheriff's Office has concluded this investigation and finds no evidence of any criminal behavior associated with this death and agrees with the Walworth County Coroner’s Office that the manner of death was accidental."

Anyone with information should contact Walworth County Sheriff's Office Detective Troy Pagenkopf at 262-741-4426. 

About Benjamin Fuder

Benjamin Robert Fuder was filled with such passion and enthusiasm for life that he entered the world six weeks premature when he was born on May 15, 1991. In just twenty-one short years, he filled this world with so much laughter and cheer that he will be forever remembered by all those that he influenced. After graduating from Edgerton High School in 2009, Ben enrolled at UW-Whitewater, where he was a junior. Ben planned to use his boundless energy and creativity to pursue a career in elementary education.

Ben was known for his sense of humor and strong work ethic. He loved spending time with family and friends, participating in sports, fishing, playing video games, watching movies, swimming, and being outdoors. Ben was an accomplished tennis player during his high school years and competed in the state tournament both as a junior and a senior.

Benjamin is survived by his parents, Bradley and Chantal Fuder; two older brothers, Joshua (Amanda Korell) and Shane Fuder; older sister, Mariah (Aaron) Lewis; grandparents, Pat and Nancy Collins; and two grandmothers, Patricia Graham and Marilyn Fuder. He leaves behind 14 aunts and uncles and 17 cousins from France to California. Ben is also survived by his girlfriend of nearly 4 years, Kelli Aide, as well as a strong group of childhood friends from Edgerton, and many other friends from college and work.  (Excerpt from Obituary. Gazette

Friends say there was never a dull moment when they were around Benjamin Fuder; he just had a way of making everyone smile. He will be deeply missed.


Video Report. (2012, August 1). Missing UW-Whitewater Student Found Dead. WMTV News. Retrieved August 2, 2012 from:

Milam, Stan. (2012, July 31). Investigation continues in Sunday death of UW-W student. Walworth County Today. Retrieved August 2, 2012, from

DeLong, Katie. (2012, July 30). Missing UW-Whitewater student found dead at quarry. Fox News. Retrieved August 2, 2012 from:

Press Release. (2012, October 10). Walworth Co. Sheriff's Department. Retrieved November 17, 2012 from
Staff Article (2012, July 30). UW-Whitewater student's family, friends look for answers. Channel Retrieved August 2, 2012 from:

Staff Article. (2012, July 29). Missing UW-Whitewater student found dead in quarry. Associated Press. Retrieved August 2, 2012 from:

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