TOWN OF MILTON — Authorities believe they’ve recovered the body of Kevin Doyle, the Milton man reported missing since Wednesday.
According to a news release from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, two police divers shortly before noon Friday recovered Doyle’s body on the northwest end of Bowers Lake, a marshy area where authorities had recovered the bodies of the man’s two Labrador retriever dogs Thursday.
The discovery of Doyle’s body came at about 11:43 a.m. Friday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Troy Knudson said aerial drones with cameras had helped the sheriff’s office spot an area in the lake’s murky water that showed what looked to be a submerged object.
That was where divers later recovered Doyle’s body, he said. It’s the same area of the lake where Doyle’s two dogs had been found dead, apparently after they had drowned, Knudson said.
Doyle’s body was located in an area of Bowers Lake with water about 3 feet deep and about a foot of mud at the bottom, Knudson indicated.
The search began Wednesday after Doyle, 66, went for a walk at Storrs Lake Park east of Milton and failed to return.
The sheriff’s office said in a release that the medical examiner will be identifying the body of the man they believe to be Doyle.
It’s not clear what led to Doyle ending up in the water, but Knudson said there are no indications of foul play.
And while he said it’s possible the medical examiner could have findings that would yield more clues about Doyle’s death, “all indications are that it just appears to be a tragic accident.”
Doyle’s body and the dogs all were found a short distance from a public-use side trail that runs along the lake, Knudson said.
The state Department of Natural Resources considers the lake part of a marsh drainage basin that’s eight acres in size with a maximum depth of six feet.
The DNR describes the lake’s bottom as 40 percent “muck.”
Knudson said the terrain leading to the lakefront in the area is fairly solid ground, but the lake itself is in a stage of “transition” from winter to spring.
He indicated that some parts of the shore area earlier this week might have been covered by thin ice with snow on top.
Knudson said Doyle’s body and both dogs were found near a section of ice along the shore.
He said it’s difficult to tell this time of year whether that ice was a remnant of shore ice or if it was ice that had floated or blown in from another part of the small lake.
Late Thursday, the Fontana Fire Department deployed a remote-controlled boat with sonar to search the lake bottom.
The boat stirred up the mucky lake bottom, but the water cleared overnight, Knudson said.
Drones were sent up Friday morning to peer into the water.
The dive team from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was on hand, and the sonar boat also was available, Knudson said.