October 24, 2010

10/17/10: Nathan Dickey, 21, Huron, OH

Nathan Dickey
Friends last saw 21-year-old Nathan Dickey at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 17. He had gotten upset with a group of friends he’d been drinking with at the i5's Bar and Grill on Main Street in downtown Huron. He told them he was headed home and walked off into the early morning darkness--toward the Huron Boat Basin, a Huron police report said.

Dickey is a native of Columbus, Ohio who returned from Iraq in May after a 10-month deployment with the Army National Guard. He had been staying at a Canton Avenue home with Meredith Gallegos, an employee in the Erie County prosecutor’s victim assistance unit. He was with Gallegos and some friends from late Saturday until the early morning on Sunday when he disappeared.

"Mr. Dickey became angry with the group and advised he would be walking home,” the report said. “He left prior to the rest of the group after yelling at others leaving the bar area.”

Friends tried calling his cell phone, but it was turned off. They also checked with the county jail, hospital, and others who know Dickey. No one had seen him. Friends reported him missing at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday 10/17.

Huron, Ohio, is a small town of just over 7,300 residents. It is located about 20 minutes east of Sandusky and about an hour west of Cleveland.

The Search for Nathan Dickey

Police investigating the case checked with employees at i5’s, taxi drivers, and even other police officers who were patrolling the city on Sunday morning. No one recalled seeing Dickey in the area.

“We are confident this is a missing persons case,” Huron police Chief John Majoy said. “This is not someone who just took off.”

Dickey's truck was left behind at his residence. His cell phone was shut off and there had been no activity on his bank account or credit cards since early Sunday. He posted no messages on Facebook or contacted anyone.

Photo credit:
Sandusky Register/Jason Werling
On Oct. 18, friends of Dickey contacted the police to report that one of Dickey’s black and white size 10 Nike shoes was found floating in the Huron River. (According to one report, the shoe was found floating next to the Brass Pelican bar.) The bar where Dickey was last seen is about 500 feet from the river. Huron police Chief John Majoy cautioned that the finding didn't necessarily mean Dickey was in the water. And Huron police and firefighters did patrol the river in the city’s emergency boat to patrol the Huron River, but turned up nothing.

“We are worried sick,” Kaley Dickey, his estranged wife, wrote on a Facebook page. “Things just aren’t looking good at all.” She added: “Please keep Nathan in your prayers and that they find him and everything is okay.”

Kaley and Nathan Dickey have an 11-month-old daughter together.

On Tuesday, an unidentified woman told police that a man had been seen lying on a front lawn, possibly passed out drunk, in the 300 block of Williams Street (near Cleveland Road West) early Sunday morning. The area was about 1,000 feet from the bar where Dickey was last seen. Police searched the area and located a puddle that appeared to be vomit. A sample was collected and it is being analyzed to ascertain whether it was left there by Dickey, according to police. A bloodhound was then brought in to search Williams Street. According to Fox Toledo, a sheriff's dog acquired Dickey's scent and tracked a trail toward the Huron River. Nothing else was found.

"We don't know for certain that it was his vomit," Chief Majoy said. "But they they did find a possible track, but that is where it ended."

Majoy said there are no signs of foul play, but police have ruled nothing out.

“We are looking at every possible avenue,” Majoy said.

On Oct. 20, dive teams spent several hours searching the bottom of the Huron River. Watercraft from the Sandusky and Huron Fire Departments also canvassed the area on each side of the dive effort. Police have previously said that dragging the river with equipment would be futile because the river bottom is littered with logs and other debris.


On Monday, October 25, 2010, the mud-covered body of Nathan Dickey was pulled from the Huron River by Huron firefighters at 4:43 pm. The fire department was called to the scene after a person at the Huron Boat Basin reported seeing a body floating about 100 yards offshore, Huron police Chief John Majoy told the Sandusky Register. In all likelihood, the body had just surfaced, he said.

“It’s a really sad ending,” Majoy said. “A very, very sad ending.”

Dickey's body was found wearing one shoe, indicating that the one found in the water last week was his. According to the Register, the body "was fully clothed when pulled from the water, and there were no immediate signs of trauma indicating foul play, Majoy said. In Dickey’s pockets police found his wallet, driver’s license and cell phone."

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday with the Lucas County coroner’s office. According to Majoy, they will first look for a cause of death. The toxicology report will take another week or two.

A preliminary autopsy report completed Friday, October 29 by the Lucas County coroner’s office indicated there were no signs of trauma to Dickey's body. Dickey is believed to have accidentally drowned.

About Nathan Dickey

Nathan Dickey is described by friends as  "good guy" and "a wonderful person...loved by so many."

“We all love him and we all miss him,” his friend Casey Gonzalez told the Register. “And, we wish he could have returned home in a different way: safe.”

Nathan's obituary read:

Nathan R. Dickey, age 21, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, died Sunday, October 17, 2010. Nathan was born on March 2, 1989 and was a 2008 graduate of Pickerington High School Central and Eastland Career Center. Nathan is a member of the Ohio Army National Guard and just returned from Iraq on May 31, 2010. Nathan is survived by his wife, Kaley Dickey, and his daughter, Ava Valerie Dickey. He is also survived by his father and step-mother, Mark Edward Dickey and Frances J. Dickey; mother, Jennifer Moore; sisters, Rabecca Dickey, Abigail Kotula, and Theresa Williams; brothers, David Williams and Antonio Foster; grandparents, George and Darlene Bell, Dennis and Bonnie Dickey, Kenneth Kotula; great-grandmother, Betty Kotula; aunts, uncles, cousins, many good friends. Nathan is also survived by his battle buddies and fellow soldiers from Ohio Army National Guard, 1192nd Engineer Company who had his back in Iraq and formed a bond with Nathan that made them his family.
Dickey was a member of the Ohio National Guard for about five years. He had served 10 months in Iraq in the 1192nd Engineer Company before returning to Ohio in May 2010.

Friend and fellow guardsman, Will Grosswiler, wrote on Dickey's Facebook page:

"I wanted a different ending. Although we can't always get what we want. I have now learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, or end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, and making the best of every moment, without knowing what's going to happen next."
A memorial service was held for Dickey's family and friends on Friday, October 29, 2010 at the Cotner Funeral Home in Reynoldsburg, followed by a funeral service with an Army National Guard honor guard. Interment is at Violet Cemetery in Pickerington, Ohio.

The Dickey Memorial Fund has also been established through Chase Bank to assist Nathan’s wife and daughter. A check payable to Dickey Memorial Fund can be dropped off at any Chase branch or the Cotner Funeral Home, 7369 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH

Name/age: Nathan R. Dickey, 21
Last seen: 10/17/10, i5's Bar and Grill on Main Street in downtown Huron.
Recovered: 10/25/10, Huron River
Hometown: Canal Winchester, Ohio
Physical Description: white male with short brown hair, 5-feet-8-inches, 180 pounds and green eyes. He was last wearing a black T-shirt with a gray skull on it, blue jeans and black-and-white Nike shoes.

Originally published: 10/24/10. Updated 12/16/10.


bob said...

It never ceases to amaze me how these young men continually end up in the river. I used to lean towards accidents, then foul play, but am now back to accidents as being the cause. I recently read a young man's story about a night on the town. It shed some light as to how these accidents might come about:

"the craziest thing thats every happened to me i barely remember. this was when i was attending college in pittsburgh, and one cold february friday my friends and i decided to go to a party. if any of you happen to live/have lived in shittsburgh, you know that place is a cold hell.

so we get to the party, which happens to be about 4 miles from our dorm. the place is pretty sketchy, even by city college party house standards. have a few beers and a shot or two. a friend that was with me knew one of the guys bar tending, so drinks were coming free and easy. then jungle juice. next thing i know im grinding with some girl, and i look down at my hands and find myself holding an empty fifth of jager. then it turns into sunday morning and i am naked in my bed.

things i was told that had happened:

-one of my friends had gone outside to smoke, when he looked back at the porch and saw an argument brewing. out of nowhere, about 50 black people run down the steps (inside from the second floor) and out of the porch and start fighting in the street. violent, rage filled fighting. he had no idea there was even another floor, let alone that much space up there. gets caught up in the fight, ends up busting some kid's nose and getting blood all over own his hand and shirt.

-cops come and break the fight up. for some reason don't clear out the house, just those in the fight.

-when the cops leave, the people that were fighting turn away form fighting, and turn to vandalizing cars.

-one of the guys bartending had an active warrant out for his arrest. another was a felon.

-when we decided to leave the party, we stopped at a gas station to grab some snacks. i said i would just wait outside for them. apparently i said it was too cold so i decided to walk back to my dorm 4 miles away instead of into the store 3 feet away. this led to me being lost for 4 hours. if i try, i can vaguely remember flashes of things. a lot of slipping. climbing trees, running through the woods, up a hill, and in the middle of the street. i waved down a car, asked for directions was given a vest and a prayer.

-also (kinda) remember being pushed around on the street by someone and running away from them. i woke up without my wallet and i'm pretty sure these two things are connected.

-i was in a t shirt and a jacket with jeans this entire time. it had to be about 11 degrees and i was covered in snow for 4 hours. i didn't get sick from this.

morals of this story:

i feel really weird posting this here. it happened a number of years ago and i've only told 3 people. but hey this thread has some crazy shit.

typing this out has conjured up emotions ranging between what the hell is wrong with me, shame, why did i not die, more shame, and a sick sense of primal pride for the skinny distance kid coming out of this shit unscathed. just the thought of jager makes every part of me go "no" "

Lisa said...


I think it is great that you told this story here. It's almost hard to believe, but these types of things totally do happen. I'm sure most of us have one bizarre tale to tell (or two). So suppose for a moment that foul play is not involved in these deaths, well then, some awareness and education about the dangers of a night on the town are still in order. It sounds like this young man has already stopped to think about how many things could have gone wrong for him that night. I wonder if that made him more aware of these "what-ifs" the next time around! So maybe by re-telling this story, you have saved a life!

And actually, I think this might be a great topic to add to our discussion forum. Folks, I urge you to add to the discussion!

Monique777 said...

I agree. Alcohol or alcohol/drugs can make an otherwise fun evening become crazy. People loose their memory and act in ways they would never normally act.
It is so hard to know what is going on with all these men being found in the river. Perhaps some are accidents while others involve foul play. It is difficult to know what steps to put in place to prevent this if the cause is unknown.
One step to prevent either an accident or foul play would be to be more responsbile about drinking and to always stick together when going out to a party or bar. This web site has shown it is not safe for men to be alone after drinking.

Monique777 said...

And I am hoping they find Nathan Dickey safe. He put his life on the line for his country and it would be a shame to come back to the states after serving his country only to die a short time later.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Jennifer said...

It was a very good story, bob, however, what if the anonymous person from bob's story was drugged by the bartender? I am assuming that "50 people" was an exaggeration. What if the anonymous person was picked up by a fake cab driver or a real one who dropped the guy off in a river? He would have been just another victim. I still think someone is taking advantage of them in their weakened state.

Jennifer said...

I mean a group of people are taking advantage of these men who think they are doing the right thing by not drinking and driving. They accept a ride and boom, they are trapped.

Lisa said...

All great reminders to protect yourself when you are vulnerable.

Many of the young men were vulnerable in some way. And whether these deaths are accidents or something more, they illustrate that it is prudent for young people to protect themselves against any danger, especially when they are vulnerable.

CyPhy said...

Great post by "bob." Thanks for having the courage to post that.

No I was just surfing by and noticed that Nathan Dickey had been staying with Meredith Gallegos. The Gallegos name rang a bell...have there been any victims named "Gallegos?"
I remember there was that guy in Albuquerque...maybe that's what I'm remembering.


Marion said...

I really do believe that many of these young men get so drunk they don't have a clue where their going,especially if it is dark. They get so disoriented, they end up going toward water and drown.
I am not sayingthis is the case with all of them, but many.