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What secrets lie beneath the icy surface of Lake Huron? Did something sinister happen there? It was tragedy that revolves around a vibrant young beauty in the prime of her life. There was just something about Lana Stempien: The tall blonde started modeling after high school, and spent six years traveling the country as an auto show model. But Lana always had high ambitions: She went on to become the first lawyer in her family, with a successful career as an attorney for the city of Detroit.
At 35 years old, Lana still seemed to be having too much fun to settle down, but two years ago when she started dating Chuck Rutherford, there were s that might change. He was the son of a prominent Michigan lawyer.
Dick Bell, restaurant owner: He was fawning all over her and very attentive. It was kind of close that way. Lana, the daughter of a former U. And last August, the couple decided to take a vacation together on Lake Huron.
It was a boating trip Lana had been planning all summer. She and Chuck were heading to Mackinac Island, a summer destination in northern Michigan. But what started as a fun adventure would soon turn into a mystery, an investigation, and a list of unanswered questions. The two-day trip was to take Lana and Chuck up the St. Claire River and into the vast waters of Lake Huron. Hansen: When it came to making sure the conditions were appropriate for boating, how was she?NO Swimsuit NEEDED - SMLS S12E04
Swanson: A fanatic. The couple had pulled into a marina in Oscoda, looking for a place to tie up for the night, and some decent food.
Richard Bannon, met the couple at a dock: They were tired. He was hungry. He was tired of eating rice cakes. Bannon says Lana and Chuck were up by 7 a.
Thursday, wanting to get an early start as they headed back out onto Lake Huron. At the couple stopped in Presque Isle, where Gene Austin gassed them up. They joked about who should pay the bill and before pulling out, Lana asked about any trouble spots. Gene Austin, gas station worker: They told us that they were going to Mackinac island for the weekend, and she asked me if there was any shallow water. But Austin says Lana, the ever safety-conscious boater, already had the two shallow areas he told her to avoid programmed into her GPS.
Friday, August 12 th was an ugly morning on the waters of northern Lake Huron and even in his foot express cruiser, boater Tom Behan was struggling against the powerful winds and high waves. So he was shocked to spot a much smaller boat battling the elements.
Just an hour earlier, her distraught father had called the Coast Guard to report the boat overdue. Thursday, when Lana called her Aunt Pat in Florida. Pat Koczara, Lana's aunt: She was in very good spirits. When the St. Jim Renkes, Coast Guard: We tried to use our loud hailer to see if we could get any of people on board the boat or any response. There was nothing. The boat was empty. There was nobody on it. What had happened to Lana and Chuck? The Coast Guard launched a massive search and rescue effort that spanned some square miles, but 26 hours later, they called off the search — there was no of the missing couple anywhere.
Swanson: Right. I was in shock. I was in awe. How could Lana, the daughter of the former Coast Guard officer, go missing on the water? He says Lana always adhered to the strict rules of boating she learned from her dad. Within hours they had converged from all over the state, pouring over maps, renting airplanes, helicopters, even jet skis. Crowley: In very short order we had about 20 people.
Hansen: At first did you hold out hope that maybe Lana and Chuck would be found alive? We were completely thinking "search and rescue. Hansen: Was there anything on board the boat that indicated foul play? Detective Sexton, Michigan P. It appeared that somebody just walked off the boat. There was nothing untoward, unusual about the boat condition at all. Hansen: Any s of a struggle? Detective Sexton: Nothing. Hansen: Obvious s of blood?
No damage to the boat. Things that may have been considered of value were still there.
Money was in the wallet. Clothes were laying on the deck. Nothing unusual. The natural assumption is they drowned. Had the couple simply gone for a swim and somehow drifted dangerously far from the boat? Hansen: Boat got away from them — they drowned? When Richard Bannon waved goodbye to the couple that morning in Oscoda, they were bundled up in sweatshirts. And, when she talked to her Aunt Pat, Lana hardly sounded like she was ready to dive in for a swim. We wanted to avoid the rough water. Koczara: We knew that both her and Chuck were excellent swimmers.
At the wedding in Bermuda, we watched them tread water for maybe 20 minutes to 30 minutes and I had that in my mind. Swanson: We figured they had to be out there somewhere. But on Tuesday, August 16, five days after Lana and Chuck had last been heard from, that hope began to fade. This is where I am. The boat got away from me. Beverly Wheaton, Huron beach resident: I was sitting at the picnic table and looking out and saw something Crowley: We were crushed.
Swanson: Nobody could stop crying. We could try and grieve for her. We could put her to rest. Hansen: But it must have been just profoundly sad to have this reality hit home. Instead of providing answers, her body only deepened the mystery of what had gone wrong on Lake Huron.
She was found nude, wearing only a necklace, a ring and her treasured Omega watch. Hansen: Did it disturb you that she was found unclothed? Swanson: Very disturbing. Why was she naked?Mackinac island MI nude dating
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