Missing diver's father still waits


by Ken More, Naples Daily News, November 18, 1995


Copyright Naples Daily News 1995


Bill Madott spent a part of this week in Fort Myers Beach, staying in the same Ramada Beach Resort hotel where he was entrenched a year ago.

It is where members of the families of three young men missing in the Gulf of Mexico kept their vigil during the first several weeks of sea and air searches in one of the largest searches of Gulf waters ever.

The three men are still missing, but their families haven't given up hope, explains Madott.  "Maybe someone will come in or call while I'm here, with a missing clue about what happened to the boys," says the father of David Madott who, like his two companions, was 25 years old when he disappeared.

The three were with a friend on a fishing-scuba diving trip 60 miles out in the Gulf when their boat sank.  The boat operator, Jeff Wandich, swam four miles to a communications tower that he hung onto for 36 hours before being rescued.

What happened to the others, separated during the swim in building seas a few hours after dark, is unknown.

The missing three have never been found, despite a search that lasted a week, covered 20,000 square miles and involved aircraft and boats of the Coast Guard, its auxiliary and the families of the missing men.

Missing are David Madott, Kent Munro and Omar Shearer.  Munro was the only one who was married.  Wandich and Shearer had been friends for a year.

The elder Madott says he faces the likelihood that the three are dead, "but while there's even a slight chance..." his voice drifts off.

"I want to raise awareness that the boys are still missing and we're still looking for answers to their disappearance.  And I'm visiting with investigators to see what other avenues we might take to find out what happened to the boys."

He also had reward posters printed locally, increasing reward money to $300,000 - from $75,000 to $100,000 each for information leading to the whereabouts of the three men if they are still alive.  The reward for information leading to identifiable remains if they are dead if $15.000 for each.

He is placing the posters around the area in B. Dalton and Barnes and Nobles bookstores where the book, "Missing in the Gulf," is being sold.  The book deals with the disappearance of  three men.

"What I want people to be aware of," Madott says, "is that this could happen to anybody.  It's our sons, but it could be anybody's sons."

He says the families still have private investigators working on the disappearance.  He hopes area residents may have some theories or some clues as to what happened to the three friends on Nov. 4, 1994.

Information can be sent to him at P.O. Box 334, Mississauga "A" Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, L5A 3A1.

Madott adds, "Circumstances surrounding our sons' disappearance continue to be mysterious and very difficult for our families to live with.  We believe additional information is available.  We are..hoping that through a strong sense of compassion...anyone who has information will make it available to us."

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