UW-Whitewater student’s family, friends look for answers

Sheriff says foul play isn't suspected
UW-Whitewater student’s family, friends look for answers

Family and friends are mourning after a missing University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student was found dead in a limestone quarry in Walworth County.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office said the body of Benjamin R. Fuder was found Sunday about 6:45 a.m. at the Whitewater Limestone Quarry. Sheriff David Graves said he doesn’t think anyone else was involved, and he doesn’t suspect foul play.

However, the people who knew Fuder best aren’t convinced he was alone and that his death was an accident.

A handful of Fuder’s close friends and his older brother, Shane Fuder, spoke with WISC-TV Monday in Edgerton. They said they remember Benjamin Fuder as a tall, goofy character with a knack for tennis and a way of making everyone smile.

Kyle Furseth was a friend of Fuder’s since he moved to town about a decade ago.

“There was just never a dull moment when you’re around him,” Furseth said. “He was just a really great guy.”

Shane Fuder said it’s tough enough to lose a younger brother but even tougher to deal with the unknown. He said Ben Fuder had been drinking the night he disappeared, but he believes there’s no way that would have been the cause of his death.

“There’s no reason he wouldn’t have made it home,” Shane Fuder said.

Shane Fuder said his brother’s home was a mile from the quarry.

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“It doesn’t add up,” Furseth added.

Fuder’s body wasn’t the only one found at Whitewater Quarry. Another dead UW-Whitewater student was discovered in May 2011 at that Franklin Street facility, which is just outside the Whitewater city limits.

The sheriff mentioned there are no connections in the cases so far, but it is something he plans to look into as the investigation continues. He said it seemed like there was no one with Fuder at the quarry.

“We’re keeping an open mind,” Graves said. “We don’t have any evidence right now of foul play. However, the investigation is open and ongoing.”

A fence separates the quarry from highway traffic, but otherwise, Graves noted, it is fairly easy to get into. Graves also said it is an easy walk from campus but doesn’t believe it is a popular hangout spot for students.

“It’s just unusual for someone to walk that way,” Graves said. “We don’t know why, and if we can figure that out, we’ll try.”

But the coincidence is too much for Fuder’s family and friends to take. They said they want to make sure any and all possibilities are thoroughly investigated.

“Nobody believes it was an accident. Everyone wants to do what they can,” Shane Fuder said.

Fuder said he has been frustrated with the lack of surveillance around Whitewater, and said he plans to push for more cameras in the area. Meanwhile, the group is continuing to cope with the loss.

“He’s just one hell of a friend,” Furseth concluded.

One important piece of evidence the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office has is Benjamin Fuder’s cellphone. However, the person who found it called Fuder’s girlfriend and put it into Fuder’s mailbox anonymously.

Graves is urging that person to come forward and share anything he or she knows about this case.

“It’s just a piece of the puzzle that we need to, would like to, finish,” Graves said.

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

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