Frankton, IN –The bodies of an Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation sergeant and his ice-fishing partner were recovered from the waters of an icy pond on Tuesday, investigators said.
Off-duty DNR Sergeant Edward Bollman, 44, and his long-time friend, Roger Chezem, 77, were reported as missing at approximately 9 p.m., after they failed to return from an ice-fishing trip, WTTV reported.
A ranger located Chezem’s pickup near a pond at Camp Kikthawenund in Madison County, but was unable to locate the men. The ranger also noticed that there was a hole in the middle of the pond.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene at 9:40 p.m. Underwater drones were deployed by the DNR, and divers eventually recovered the bodies of Chezem and Sgt. Bollman from about 20 feet of icy water at approximately 11:50 p.m., The Herald Bulletin reported.
Investigators said they did not suspect foul play.
Both men died from drowning, Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay told The Herald Bulletin. She said that Chezem also suffered a heart attack, but that he was alive when he went underwater.
“We’re surmising that Mr. Chezem had a heart attack and fell and that Bollman entered the water to save him,” Dunnichay said.
“If his friend got in trouble, we know what our officer would have done,” DNR Captain William Brown told the Indianapolis Star.
“This speaks to the heart of all of us who are outdoor lovers in this state and right now our hearts are really hurting,” Capt. Brown told WTTV. “So we want to thank all of our brothers and sisters that came to our aid today, to recover these two men.”
Sgt. Bollman, a 15-year veteran of the force, had been married to his wife, Belinda, for 22 years, according to his obituary.
The couple has one son, Hunter.
Sgt. Bollman will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Indiana Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Edward Bollman, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here.
Thank you for your service.