River search ends for missing Huron man

(UPDATED: SAFETY SERVICE PERSONNEL IN A WAITING PATTERN) A 21-year-old Iraq war veteran is missing, and police fear he drowned in the Huron River.
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Oct 21, 2010

(UPDATED: SAFETY SERVICE PERSONNEL IN A WAITING PATTERN)  A 21-year-old Iraq war veteran is missing, and police fear he drowned in the Huron River.

Friends last saw Nathan Dickey, a Huron resident, at about 2 a.m. Sunday walking away from a downtown bar. 

Later, his shoe washed up along the banks of the Huron River, next to the Brass Pelican.  

Police are now scouring the city — and the river — for any answers about Dickey’s disappearance.

Dickey’s friends, however, hope the answer doesn’t come in the form of a body.  

This much, police know:

At about 2 a.m. Sunday, Dickey got upset at some friends he’d been drinking with at a downtown Huron bar. He walked off into the early morning darkness drunk and angry, headed toward the Huron Boat Basin, a Huron police report said.

That’s the last time anyone can say for certain they saw him.

“He’s a good guy,” a young man said Monday at the Canton Avenue home where Dickey lives. “We’re just trying to keep the faith that he’s OK.” 

The man, declining to give his name, said he and Dickey served in the Army together in Iraq. 

A Columbus native who in May returned from overseas, Dickey had been living at a Canton Avenue home with Meredith Gallegos, an employee in the Erie County prosecutor’s victim assistance unit.

He was with Gallegos and a group of other friends late Saturday, drinking at i5’s Bar and Grill on Main Street when he got upset, a police report said.

“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.” 

Sunday evening, Gallegos and her friends grew worried after they “exhausted every avenue of finding Mr. Dickey,” the report said.

They called his cell phone, but it was turned off.  They checked the county jail and the hospital, and called every person they could think of who knows Dickey. They posted messages on Facebook, and recalled, too, that Dickey threatened to return to the Columbus area. So they called his grandfather, father and the mother of his child. 

No one knew of his whereabouts.

Sunday evening, Huron police began searching the city for leads. Employees at i5’s and Rivers Edge Inn saw nothing. 

A family by the last name of Dickey had, in fact, checked into the Rivers Edge Inn over the weekend, but it was a dead end — they were unrelated to Nathan Dickey, police said. 

Even Huron police officers who patrolled the city Sunday morning didn’t recall seeing Dickey in the area. Taxi drivers hadn’t seen him, either.

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

Dickey has dropped off the radar. 

His truck is still at the Canton Avenue home. His cell phone is shut off and there has been zero activity on his bank account and credit cards since early Sunday. He has posted no messages on Facebook and has not contacted anyone, Majoy said.  

And then, police found the shoe floating in the Huron River near the Brass Pelican. It’s a black-and-white, size 10 Nike — the same type Dickey wore. 

On Tuesday, someone told police a man had been sprawled on the ground in the 300 block of Williams St. early Sunday morning. The unidentified tipster said the man looked like he was passed out drunk, Majoy said.

Police searched the tree lawns along Williams Street and located a puddle of vomit. 

Tuesday evening, a specially trained search dog and its handler from Crawford County were called to the scene. The bloodhound searched Williams Street, but nothing turned up. 

Huron police and firefighters, meanwhile, used the city’s emergency boat to patrol the Huron River. That, too, turned up nothing. 

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

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

Dragging the river with equipment to turn up any body would be a futile effort, since the river bottom is littered with logs and other debris that would complicate efforts. The task would be tantamount to “dragging the lake,” Majoy said.

The river’s deepest parts reach 25 feet, and the water temperature is a little lower than 60 degrees, Majoy said. 

A drowning victim is likely to float to the surface faster in warmer water, while cooler water prolongs the period a body remains submerged, police said. 

Even so, it’s speculation that Dickey drowned.

Police contacted Dickey’s family members, none of whom have seen him.   

Officers distributed flyers to area businesses Tuesday, providing a description: Dickey is a 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.

Gallegos, meanwhile, has created a Facebook page: “HELP FIND NATHAN DICKEY.”

She declined to speak about the circumstances surrounding Dickey’s disappearance, but expressed love and concern for him.

Other residents outside Gallegos’ Canton Avenue home on Monday said Dickey is a “good guy,” and they’re just hoping he’s found.     

UPDATE 10/20: After spending several hours combing the floor of the Huron River this morning, dive teams decided to wrap it up, at least for now.

Sandusky and Huron Fire Departments participated in the search for the body of Nathan Dickey as watercraft from police and fire agencies canvassed the area on each side of the dive effort.

Dickey was last seen Sunday morning after leaving a Huron bar with friends.

A sample of vomit collected along the shoreline of the river is being analyzed to ascertain whether it was left there by Dickey, according to police.

 UPDATE 10/21: The mystery of Nathan Dickey's disappearance continues.

Safety service personnel aren't committed to an active search today for Nathan Dickey, according to the Huron Fire Department.

Fire personnel are ready to "react" in case someone spots Dickey's body, but are standing by in a waiting pattern at this point, Fire Chief Steve Osterling said.

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Azure Ray

God Bless him!!  I hope that everything is ok.  My prayers are with him and I am hoping for the best.

Norma J-C

forgive me for asking. Where is the brass pelican along the Huron River?

Azure Ray

They just opened a new Brass Pelican.  It is where Spreaders used to be across from the bowling ally.

Norma J-C

Thank you Azure Ray. My prayers  to his family.

mrhuda

There should be more publicity to this case, just like any other missing persons adult case. There is never enough publicity! This needs to get out to the local news stations, etc.

Falcon1006

I hope the find him!!!  God bless his family and roommate!

devilsadvocate

 He went missing on early Sunday morning - and they bring out the police dog on Tuesday?  Do they have to wait 24 hours or did someone not report him missing until today?  And nothing on the news until today either?  Sounds like things are a bit slow for something that is important.  I sincerely hope they find him and my thoughts go with the family and friends.

geturshytstraight

He was reported missing the min the 24 hours was up. stupid hpd just didnt do anythin or release it for some reason. hopefully they find him, he is a great person n very loved. the hpd just doesnt know what they are doin, very sad to call them my town cops. i mean you cant release anything about it till 3 days later, come on. its not like they have anything else going on.

huronguy

 Sure do hope they find this kid fast. Such ashame for him to serve his Country and it end in that fashion. My prayers go out to him and his Family. Please HPD get on top of this.

jharmon

He is a relative of my wifes....appreciate all the prayers.  It's a sad event for their family.   I agree, it should have been more public before this.

yourallpetty

if this is how long it take to get the police too look for a missing vet id hate to see how long it would take to start looking for an ordnary citizen way too much time had passed this 24 hr wait is crazy if its not normal for someone to not be somewhere and people cant find you then the police should be looking its not like they have anything better to do its not like huron is a major city with crazy crime levels and not enough cops  its a good thing this didnt happen in bellevue because we still would know he was missing and they would say its not their job

Kottage Kat

Prayers to the family and friends of this young man.

mrhuda

It is not just HPD that does not handle missing adult cases well. It is a NATIONWIDE problem that no one addresses until it happens to you. This was the case with my mother... I did not receive proper treatment for the case by the police.

YOU HAVE TO RIDE the police. STAY ON THEM about it! ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS and PUSH them to do things. I have been working in missing persons advocacy for more than two years now and unfortunately we see this kind of case treatment all the time. I am offering local MP advocate support to the family. I will do whatever I can to help push this case!

Azure Ray

 @ yourallpetty I agree!  I feel like this lag-time on getting a search together was a little unnecessary.  Not all missing persons reports are the same - this young man was near the water, by himself, and a shoe was found in the water.  Don't you think that given the circumstances a search could have been performed earlier?  I'm not trying to point fingers at the HPD - it is Standard Operating Procedure anywhere you go.  I think this needs to be changed in certain situations.  I hope to God that a miracle happens and this  young man is safe somewhere....

mrhuda

Also I would like to add...  The Register statement says it all "Man Might Have Fallen in River"...

This is probably what the police have told the Sandusky Register. HPD thinks that the man was DRUNK and fell into the river and it is just another tragic accident. Because they believe that this is what happened, they will not make a lot of other effort. That is where the focus will remain. What if he didn't fall in the river at all? what if he was mugged or picked up by some psycho? Why do they focus on only one possibility and close their minds off... this is where they make mistakes!

my2cents

The HPD was at the Brass Pelican Monday afternoon. So they were on the case. Rumor has it the young man was with a group going to the Brass Pelican and I 5's. Everyone else went home and he stayed out and never made it home. So timeline wise they might not have noticed him missing till the next day. (sun) I know I'd probably make a lot of phone calls before thinking something terrible might have happened.   It doesn't seem like it looks good. Prayers to his family and friends.

DD28

I heard more about this on facebook then in the paper!! Good job HPD!! Seriously his friends have probably done more in helping finding him than you!! Prayers are with him and his family for a safe return!!!

first of duh month

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

huron44839

Times like this call for a community to band together. Bashing the local law enforcement who protect and serve our community accomplishes nothing. Instead of anonymously spewing vitriol for the HPD on a website, try passing out the missing person flier.

Gardenman

Its sad for this man's family this had to happen after I am sure a long time worrying about him in Iraq. You hope thta he is found and is ok but things at this point do not look good. I guess I am going to be in the minority from the comments but I really don't think HPD goes out to botch a case or purposely not do the job they are trained to do. From what I have observed for a smaller town force they are professional and held to high standards. I know the friends and family would like all the stops etc. pulled out and massive efforts done to look for this gentleman and I am sure if I was in their situation I would be the same. Yet, I think reality prevails and you follow a set of standard operating procedures in a situation like this.

I pray that for this family the outcome is positive this vet is found safe,

 

 

first of duh month

 NO NAMES WERE MENTIONED...WHY IS IT ALWAYS A "PERSONAL ATTACK, SR? IT WAS AN HONEST, COLLECTIVE COMPLAINT!

yourallpetty

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

aSouthernGirl

I am an out of state relative of Nathan's and instead of bashing the HPD lets try to work with them. Unfortunately there are policies in place (which I have to belive are baseed on case histories) we don't necessarily agree with them, but I must say they have been very instrumetnal on keeping our family updated.  Let's try to take that frustration many of you are feeling and try to help them find this young man. My heart goes out to my immediate family as they (we) need some type of closure. Hopefully a happy ending.

My best.

Cathy Bell

Norma J-C

Why not have people who own boats get them in the water and do a grid search and drag the river? Everyone came out in droves to look for the lost child and this might help to find some kind of answer.

Criminal Justic...

I personally love how everyone is bashing the Huron police department because they aren't working fast enough for all of you to find out answers, did you ever consider that his friends are partly to blame for the slow starting investigation? Judging by the information I have read, I would gather the same thoughts and agree that he probably fell into the river. Yes, I do realize this is a horrible thing to say, but no other information is leading my opinion in a different direction. The police try to work by a certain deadline, and the 'first 48 hours' are critical in finding someone. Here are a few things I would like to point out.

1) When he got in an argument with his friends, and told them that he was going to leave, if he left then why wouldn't they have followed and tried to calm him down. Regardless of the fact that he was intoxicated, doesn't mean that he should have just been left to leave and walk on his own, ESPECIALLY near water. His friends could have been intoxicated too, but typically getting in a fight with someone would make you sober up to a certain degree. Being the same age as these people, and personally knowing these people to a certain extent, all I can say is that I can still think logically when intoxicated, and doesn't let my friends doing things that are unsafe when they're intoxicated and I surely do NOT let them walk away during a fight, no matter the circumstances.

2) I don't feel that it was weird that the police didn't start the investigation until Monday because it seems that his friends waited a whole day to see if he would return or talk to anybody. Since they waited it out, it would obviously push back the time they could start the investigation. You also have to take into account that they had to get statements and enough information about the events leading up to when he left his friends, and any other clues to help them better learn what happened. This would also explain why the "tipster" could not give the police any information, because he would have no reason to find the passed out man as suspicious, although, he should have still reported him to the police regardless. It says that he was found on the 300 block of Williams street, which is only located a block from the police station. Considering that it was around 2 o'clock in the morning, you would think that they police would be patrolling, especially near a bar. Huron is a very small town and the cops, no matter what town, usually hangout around bars to catch drunk drivers or to distribute public intox. If he would have been walking on the streets, police would have caught him, and patrolling they would have seen a man passed out on the lawn. Police could have collected the vomit, and possibly done DNA test to see if it was Dickey's vomit.

3) His shoe being found in the river makes it hard to determine what could have happened. I would say it would be slightly weird for him to randomly take off a shoe and throw it in the river, unless he was trying to fact his death so he could start all over again. If that was the case though, I think that you would have seen dramatic changes in his bank account. His friends calmed that his phone was off when they called him. I would want to know if they tried to contact him after he left in any way shape or form. I understand that he could have been heated and upset after the fight, but maybe giving him like an hour to recuperate, then trying to contact him would have been smart. Back to his phone being off though, his phone would have been off if he fell into the river because the water would have fried his phone. If he didn't fall into the river, his phone would have just been dead from not going home to charge it. I find it every unlikely that he would have been kidnapped, especially in Huron of all places, not saying that possibly someone from Huron has been kidnapped. I find it to be a little more logically that he fell into the river because I-5's is next to the boat basin, and being drunk he could have stumbled in, obviously at a location where people at 1-5's would have not seen him fall in.

I would just like to point out that I do hope that he is found and he is safe, for his family’s sake. I just believe that people need to honestly think about think about things and remember that you can't know the answers to everything in five minutes. This isn't just some television show where they collect and figure everything out in an hour and everyone has closure. Investigations take time, and the police are doing the best that they can given the resources and information that they have. If they have any other leads, they would consider them too, they wouldn't just push them out of their mind and stick with what they believe. A few of you also complained of this not being on the news because it is important since it's a missing person's case. For the record, 2,300 people go missing every single day, and if they reported on every single one of those people on television nothing else would be on television and you would have to have different missing people on multiple channels just to fit them all in. That would also included previous missing people for the past couple days because you would have to recap. Not one person should be important for a missing person's case than the next, but that's just how things work, you should feel lucky that they even got him on the television in the first case.

Lastly, I just find it to be a little suspicious of his friends. I'm not saying that one of them injured him, I'm just saying that they could have made better judgment calls, especially after hearing him threat to return to Columbus. His friends who seem to be overly caring now, should have been overly caring the night that all of this originally happened.

Dear Dickey family,

I pray that you find out what happened to your son, because there is nothing worse than having to go day by day without knowing. I know that waiting is painful, but you have to know that the police really do have you in their heart and they want to make sure that you know what happens. I would say it would be to give you closure, but in the end, closure will be something you will never have. I'm a criminal justice major, and closure doesn't come to anyone unless unharmed or found. If it's anything else, you will never be content and cheerful like you would typically be.

yourallpetty

i agree the first 48 hours are the most important and that is why there should be no 24 hours waiting peorid waiting 24 hours leaves half that first 48 hours gone and the first 24 hours is the most important time in that frame. im not bashing the huron police im bashing the rules that law enforcement sets up to respond to missing persons. and 2300 people go missing every day yes but thats world wide it wouldnt be all you see on tv in your area of the world. odds are pretty good noone in your area went missing that day even if it did happen everyday thats not all youd see. the news dosnt cover anything news worthy they show something at noon then you see it at 5 the agian on another network at 6 then agian at 10 or 11 they give you the same thing over and over nothing new so somewhere in there they have plenty of time to cover missing persons they just choose not too

old dog

REF: Criminal Justice's comments. I do hope that all of these bloggers read his comments, stop and think, before they make all of there idiot comments. There is a certain protocall that must be followed with any law agency. If it was not followed, there would be so much of " the dog chasing the tail" that  nothing would get done. The article stated that dragging the river would be difficult because of the sunkin logs and such. It is clear that people do not read, but just want to run ther mouths. Huron Police Department, along with other with agencies in our area do an excellant job, providing a much needed service to our area. You never hear of the good, just all of the negatives. Be gratefull that we have the dedication of all of these officers "TO PROTECT AND SERVE".

My heart goes out to the family and hope things work out for the best.

 

my2cents

 Maybe its time for guard rails and ladders from the water to the  walkway in the Boat Basin. If anyone were to fall in, it would be hard even in daylight and being sober to get out..Just a thought.

Salvatore

I sure hope that there will be a happy ending to this story. According to the story "At about 2 a.m. Sunday, Dickey got upset at some friends he’d been drinking with at a downtown Huron bar. He walked off into the early morning darkness drunk and angry, headed toward the Huron Boat Basin, a Huron police report said."   “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.” "Sunday evening, Gallegos and her friends grew worried after they “exhausted every avenue of finding Mr. Dickey,” the report said."

From what I get from this story, the Huron PD was notified Sunday evening about Nathan being missing and Huron PD began looking for him Sunday evening. Why bash the Huron police if they began looking for leads once Nathan was reported missing? Is it speculation or fact that the found shoe belonged to Nathan? Too bad a map is not published to show the location of the bar and the home of Gallegos. I am curious why Nathan got angry at the group he was with. It could shed some light on the story. Also I am concerned about Nathan "yelling at others leaving the bar area".  Could one of these "others" followed Nathan? Why did Gallegos decline to speak about the circumstances surrounding Dickey’s disappearance? It could shed light on the story and provide additional leads to what happened to Nathan. Has anyone checked again to see if Nathan's cell phone been active or turned on?

mrhuda

@ Criminal Justice -- You say "For the record, 2,300 people go missing every single day, and if they reported on every single one of those people on television nothing else would be on television and you would have to have different missing people on multiple channels just to fit them all in. That would also included previous missing people for the past couple days because you would have to recap. Not one person should be important for a missing person's case than the next, but that's just how things work, you should feel lucky that they even got him on the television in the first case."

I believe that the NEWS stations should run excerpts at the end of the segment that scrolls through missing persons files. If there were more attention paid by the people in general, there would be more leads and closure on missing persons cases. Why is it that we, the human race, do not value human lives enough to highlight someone's missing mother, brother, sister, son, etc... for five minutes. Just show their faces at least on the end of the news! I understand there are lots of missing persons, but MISSING ADULTS in particular are pushed aside way too often!

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