Body Of Missing Firefighter Found In Wisconsin

POSTED: 1:48 p.m. CDT June 2, 2003
UPDATED: 1:59 p.m. CDT June 2, 2003

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CHICAGO -- The family of missing Chicago firefighter David Scott Welch said Monday that his body was found over the weekend in a rural area near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

In a statement released Monday, the family thanked everyone who helped search for Welch since he disappeared from his northwest side home almost two weeks ago.

Family members said Welch had sent an e-mail message to friends and family saying his life had lost its meaning, but the statement released Monday did not discuss the manner of death or provide any details of how Welch's body was found.

"Scott's body was found on Sunday in a rural area near Baraboo Wisconsin. Police are investigating," the statement said. "(Welch's wife) Julie and all of Scott's family wish to send their deepest thanks to the Chicago Fire Department, Scott's fellow firefighters at Engine Company 59 and beyond, his many friends and the police departments in Chicago, Twin Lakes, Wis., and Hobart, Ind. They also would like to express their gratitude to the Chicago news media and the countless members of the public who heard about Scott's story and helped in the search."

Julie Welch said she and her husband of 19 years ate dinner together in their Edison Park neighborhood home before watching television and going to bed on the night of May 21. A friend telephoned her the next morning, she said, and told her that David Welch had sent "an e-mail that was very disturbing" to a number of his family and friends. In the e-mail message, which was reportedly sent around 1:30 a.m., Welch indicated that he was upset and reportedly wrote, "My life has lost its rhythm and I feel that whatever I say or do is wrong."

Welch, a fire lieutenant with Fire Engine Co. 59, had been on medical leave for three weeks after suffering a knee injury while unrolling some fire hose at a fire, according to his wife. Following surgery, her husband was put on painkillers and may have suffered a bout of depression from the drugs and having to rest at home, she said.

Police in Chicago, Indiana and Wisconsin -- where the Welches have a second home -- and near David's sister's home in Tampa, Fla., all took part in the investigation.

Julie Welch had offered a $10,000 cash reward "for information about (David Welch's) location that leads to his safe return