Old car found in Rock River in Janesville

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Frank Schultz
Monday, December 4, 2017

JANESVILLE--A fisherman using sonar found a car in the Rock River on Monday.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office and Janesville Fire Department sent boats and divers, who hooked the car to a tow truck.

The car was found on the east side of the river, just north of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

It was so corroded that officials do not even know what year it is, said Capt. Todd Christiansen of the sheriff's office.

“I'm pretty sure it's a Cadillac,” probably from the 1970s, Christiansen said.

“It's been there for years. It kept breaking apart when we were pulling it out,” Christiansen said.

No license plates were found, and it's unlikely the vehicle identification number will be found intact because of the corrosion, Christiansen said.

The fire department hosed out the Cadillac's interior, and nothing suspicious was found inside, Christiansen said.

The sheriff's office won't be investigating further and likely will dispose of the car, Christiansen said.

“It's been in there longer than any statute of limitations,” Christiansen said.

The car was in worse shape than those found just downriver last summer, Christiansen said. Janesville police at the time discovered the older of those cars--a Chevrolet El Camino--had been stolen in 1979.

Adam Walton, an off-duty Janesville firefighter who runs a fishing-guide service, found the car Monday.

He was on one last fishing trip on the river before cold weather sets in when he discovered it, he said.

Walton has been working with local fire and law enforcement agencies to upgrade their sonar equipment for use in searches. He also was hoping to capture images to use in training.

The sonar he has is so good that he could tell it was likely a Cadillac or limousine, and he could see its hood was missing, and there was a hole in the roof, he said.

As The Gazette reported Thursday, Walton has been working to get agencies along the river the same kind of sonar equipment. Thanks to donations, the equipment has been delivered, and Walton will train firefighters and sheriffs' deputies to use it, he said.

As part of the training, firefighters from Fort Atkinson, Edgerton, Janesville and Beloit departments, Rock County sheriff's deputies and the Rock Koshkonong Water Patrol will scan their portions of the river next spring. Walton thinks it likely that other long-lost objects will turn up.

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