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UPDATE: Madison College to honor grads with memorial

UPDATED Sunday, August 25, 2013 --- 8:45 p.m.
By Madeline Anderson

As classes begin for the fall semester on Monday, Madison College students will be reminded of two graduates who made a big impact while in school there.

Brandon Slattery graduated from the automotive technology program and Amy Damon graduated from the nursing program.

The Edgerton couple was supposed to get married on November 2, but on New Year's Day of this year, they were found dead inside a vehicle that had caught on fire.

"Her passion is nursing," friend Kelsey Yaun said. "This is very important for her and every other student walking around these buildings."

"And Brandon too, he loved what he did, he loved trucks and motorcycles, that was his thing," friend Carri Stack said.

In honor of Amy and Brandon, faculty and former classmates dedicated a rock with their names on it, a tree and two benches, all in front of the new Health Education building on the Truax campus.

"It makes us feel good, actually," Brandon's mom Lori Slattery said.

"Sad and good at the same time," said Tammy Damon, Amy's mom. "Their legacy will live on. And that's what we would want."

At a ceremony Sunday afternoon, family, friends and Madison College instructors shared stories about the couple.

"They were an old couple," Tammy said. "They were young at heart but they were actually old. They dressed alike."

"And they took care of people," Lori said.

"You can bet if Brandon had something to say, it was worth listening to," said Marty Prew, one of Brandon's former teachers. "He always had good questions."

"Amy was always at the center of most of the parties, most of the gatherings," Stack said. "She was the life of every party."

Amy was just 21 when she died. Brandon was 24. But in that short amount of time, they touched a number of people.

"She's the reason I got into nursing," Stack said.

"He was always a volunteer," Prew said. "You turn around and there's Brandon helping somebody."

"You always think that your own children are pretty awesome, but to have something like this, it makes you think that other people thought they were pretty awesome too," Lori said. "And that really touches my heart."


UPDATED: Sunday, August 25, 2013 --- 4:46 a.m.

A tree and park bench will be dedicated Sunday to a couple who died in a car fire on New Year's Day in McFarland.

Amy Damon, 21, and Brandon Slattery, 24, both of Edgerton, were found dead in a burned car early Jan. 1, 2013. The couple was engaged.

Damon and Slattery were Madison College graduates and they will be celebrated in a ceremony outside the new Health Education Building at the Truax campus.

A tree and a stone bench will be placed there in the pair's honor.

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 --- 8:10 a.m.

MCFARLAND, Wis. (AP) -- McFarland's police chief says the couple found dead in a burned out car early New Year's Day never attempted to get out of the vehicle.

Chief Craig Sherven says that indicates the couple may have been asleep or unconscious as fire burned the car. The deaths of 24-year-old Brandon Slattery and 21-year-old Amy Damon, both of Edgerton, have been ruled accidental.

Sherven says there's no indication of foul play. The chief tells the State Journal both Slattery and Damon appeared to have been sitting in the front seats.

Funeral services for the two were held Monday.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

UPDATED: Sunday, January 6, 2013--5:32 a.m.

A visitation will be held Sunday for Amy Damon and Brandon Slattery, the engaged couple who died in a McFarland car fire on New Years' Day.

The visitation runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the McFarland High School.

A separate visitation will be held tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the McFarland Lutheran Church. Their funerals will follow at 11 a.m.


UPDATED: Friday, January 4, 2013 --- 6:30 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin

McFarland Police have pieced together a timeline of the events that led to a fatal car fire that claimed the lives of an engaged couple early New Years Day.

Amy Damon and Brandon Slattery were killed when the car they were driving burst into flames while they were inside at about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

McFarland Police Chief Craig Sherven says the couple drove to the party with a friend in his car from Edgerton. They planned to all return in that friend's car, but early Tuesday morning the friend gave them permission to drive off without him. Less than two blocks from the gathering the couple pulled over for an unknown reason.

The county coroner and fire marshals are still working on autopsies and an examination of the car, a late 1990's Pontiac, but results are not expected for at least another week. There are several recalls for cars matching that description, some involving electrical systems and starters, but there is no word yet if the fire was caused by a car malfunction.

Police say their investigation has also not revealed any signs of foul play or excessive alcohol use. They say there were only about ten people at the party, and no conflicts.


UPDATED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 -- 11:44 p.m.

A public visitation for Amy Damon and Brandon Slattery will be held on Sunday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. at McFarland High School.

Then on Monday, a second visitation is planned from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at McFarland Lutheran Church. The funeral for both will follow at 11 a.m.

UPDATED Thursday, January 3, 2013 --- 5:16 p.m.

Information from Madison College:

Amy Damon was a nursing graduate at Madison College. Classmates have set up a fund to help purchase a memorial bench for Amy at the College’s new Health Education building.

Send check in care of and to:
Madison College Foundation
1701 Wright Street
Madison, WI 53704

In the memo area of the check, please put “Amy Damon Memorial Fund”.

To donate online, click HERE


UPDATED Wednesday, January 2, 2013 --- 7:03 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Dane County medical examiner's office says the deaths of two people whose bodies were found in a burned car near Madison were accidental.

The victims were identified Wednesday as 24-year-old Brandon Slattery and 21-year-old Amy Damon, both of Edgerton.

Firefighters found the man and woman's bodies after extinguishing a car fire in the village of McFarland Tuesday.

Preliminary autopsy results suggest the two were not the victims of a crime.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.


UPDATED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 -- 6:18 p.m.

Press Release:

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office is releasing the names of the two people that were located in the burned vehicle after the reported car fire in the Village of McFarland on 01-01-13. The car fire was reported shortly after 6:00AM on Monday in the 5900 Block of Holscher Road, in the Village of McFarland.

Deceased are: Brandon Slattery, 24, and Amy N. Damon, 21, both from Edgerton.

Forensic autopsies were conducted Wednesday at the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office. The preliminary results of those autopsies suggest that Mr. Slattery and Ms. Damon were not the victims of criminal activity. The Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the Manner of death for both, Accidental.

This case remains under investigation by the Village of McFarland Police, the State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office.


UPDATED Wednesday, January 2, 2013 --- 3:50 p.m.

24-year-old Brandon Slattery and 21-year Amy Damon were found dead inside a burned vehicle on New Year's Day in McFarland.

Family and friends are absolutely devastated by the news. They sat down with NBC 15's Tim Elliott on Wednesday afternoon for an emotional interview.

“I can't really accept that they are not here,” said friend Alicia Anderson.

Two lives...

“They just clicked together,”

Bound by love...

“They were perfect for each other,"

Taken too soon.

“I have never in my life experienced something like this, I never thought I would never have to,”

Anderson grew up with Amy Damon and Brandon Slattery. Just this past weekend, Amy asked Alicia to be the maid of honor in her upcoming wedding.

“And so she bought wooden hangars and carved into them my name and it said 'maid of honor' and the wedding date on it,” said Alicia.

But instead of celebrating their upcoming nuptials, family and friends are left remembering the young couple's lives.

“Even now it really doesn't feel like it's real, there's just a void, there's a gap,” said Ryan Lamb, Brandon's life-long friend.

“I guess I'm in that like denial stage right now,” he added.

Tim Dostalek also grew up with Brandon. He says Brandon was an avid outdoors man but a softee at heart.

“A big teddy bear,” said Dostalek. “He was like I said, he was stubborn and that's probably how I will remember him, being stubborn and telling you how it is,”

Tim knows what he would say to Brandon if he could talk to him just one last time.

“That I love him,” Tim said as tears rolled down his face. “And that I'm sorry...that's all I want to say to him,”

Friends and family are left coping the best they can.

“I don't know how you deal with something like this besides remembering all the good things about them” said Anderson.

As they celebrate a love

“They would make me laugh all the time,”

And two lives gone far too soon.

“I don't think I will ever stop missing either of them,”

Brandon worked as a mechanic here in Madison and Amy had just graduated this past spring from MATC with a degree in nursing Family and friends say they too are not sure what happened leading up to the couple's untimely deaths.

UPDATED Wednesday, January 2, 2013 --- 2:00 p.m.

Family and close friends have identified the two people found dead after a car fire New Year's morning in McFarland. They are Amy Damon, 21, and Brandon Slattery, 24.

Damon and Slattery were high school sweethearts, and were engaged to be wed in November of this year.

Police are still not commenting about the case, beyond saying they still do not have a cause for the fire or any other information on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

NBC15's Tim Elliott spoke with family and friends of Damon and Slattery. We will hear from them today on NBC15 News at 4, 5 and 6.


Updated Tuesday, January 1, 2013 --- 2:11 pm
by Tim Elliott

Authorities make a gruesome discovery in a quiet McFarland neighborhood on New Year's Day. Two people are dead after a fully-engulfed vehicle fire.

Police aren't releasing many details, so we went through the neighborhood to see what residents could tell us.

Charred vehicle parts and a blackened roadway are are all that remains after an early morning vehicle fire. It happened on Holscher Road in McFarland on New Year's Day.

“Well, at about 6 o'clock this morning, I woke up to flashing lights in our bedroom window,”

Shirley Hindrichs lives right down the street and describes what she saw.

“And I got up and I looked out and all I could see was just lots of smoke,” she says. “I never saw so much smoke before in my life,”

Residents tell us the fire was huge. They say flames were shooting 10 to 15 feet into the air from every window of the car. One resident we spoke with says it looked like something you'd see in a movie or in a war-zone.

“Never saw anything like that before,” said Hindrichs. “White smoke, big white smoke and there were many, many firemen running around and there was fire engines and an ambulance and police cars and it was just quite spectacular,”

After firefighters put out the fire, two people were found dead inside the vehicle.

“That's terrible, that's just awful,” added Hindrichs.

Neighbors we spoke with say they didn't recognize the car or hear an explosion of any kind.

“When we saw the (police) tape we knew something was wrong, that it just wasn't a car that caught on fire,” commented Hindrichs.

Authorities say the identities of the victims are unknown at this time. They say the cause of this fire is unknown and an investigation is now underway.

Of course, a lot more questions than answers regarding this case. Hopefully we will start getting more details about this fire in the coming days. Make sure you stayed tuned to NBC for all the updates.

Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013 --- 11:21 a.m.

Press Release from the McFarland Police Department:

McFarland, WI. On January 1, 2013 at approximately 6:01 a.m. the McFarland Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle on fire near the intersection of Holscher Rd. and Prairie Wood Dr. in the Village of McFarland. The department was assisted by the McFarland Fire and EMS Departments.

As officers arrived on scene, they observed a vehicle fully engulfed in flames. Upon extinguishing the fire, two deceased individuals were discovered in the vehicle. The identities of the deceased are at this time unknown. The incident is under further investigation at this time.

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