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UPDATE: Body of missing Columbia County teen found

Updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014 --- 10:29 p.m.

When Richard Stanton stopped to talk to 17-year-old Thomas Biggs late Friday afternoon, Stanton had no idea he might be the last person to see Biggs alive.

After two days of ground, water and air searches, a dive team discovered the Beloit teen's body in a pond in Blackhawk Park, outside Portage.

Stanton said he saw Biggs walking in the road barefoot, so he stopped to ask if he was OK.

"I figured he was home, and he wasn't near the water then or anything," Stanton said.

"He seemed a little tipsy but he wasn't like falling down from one side of the road to the other, and I asked him if he was alright and he said he just lived right there," Stanton said, pointing to a trailer near the pond.

The teen was spending the weekend at his family's trailer home. Columbia County Sheriff Dennis Richards said Biggs had been with friends earlier in the day, but it's unclear what happened in his last minutes.

"To me there had to be some other reason why this happened because I don't think the water, knowing that he could swim and at least what I believe to be literally no current... I just can't make heads or tails of the outcome of this and that's one thing that bothers me is to try to find the answer for the family of why this happened," Richards said.

Sheriff's Office investigators have not named any persons of interest in the case, but Richards said they are keeping all options open. When asked whether he believed foul play is involved, Richards said it is "too early to tell," but they are investigating.

Neighbors said the area is usually quiet, and nothing like this has happened in the last several decades.

"It's usually very quiet so I did not, how do you say, expect anything like this to happen," said neighbor Kathy Maruszewski.

An autopsy is scheduled for earlier this week and toxicology results are expected in about three weeks, Richards said. At that point, investigators hope to know more details about how this happened.


UPDATED Sunday, July 6, 2014-- 4:00 p.m.

From the Columbia County Sheriff's Office:

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has located the body of the missing 17 year old male (Thomas A. Biggs DOB 03-12-97). He was last seen in the Blackhawk Park area near Portage at 5 pm on July 4th, 2014.

The Columbia County Dive Team located the body in a pond across from the road from where the family was camping. It appears that Thomas Biggs had drowned. Sheriff Richards doesn’t expect that foul play was involved.

The investigation will continue as an autopsy will be performed.

Sheriff Dennis E Richards


Posted on Saturday, July 5 -- 5:39 p.m.

Columbia county officials are searching for a teenager who went missing on the fourth of July.

The teenager, 17-year-old Thomas Biggs, was last seen in the Blackhawk Park area near Portage around 5:00 p.m yesterday. He was wearing gray shorts with an orange strip on them. He may have had a black shirt on or no shirt at all, and he had no shoes on.

The teen did not have a phone with him.

If you see Thomas or have any information, contact Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

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