Norwalk teen drowns

Honor student was test-driving boat in river by grandfather's residence when tragedy occurred.
Cary Ashby
Oct 10, 2013


An autopsy is scheduled for today following the apparent drowning of a Norwalk teenager in the Huron River when he was test-driving a boat Wednesday afternoon.

Jeffrey P. Warneck II, 18, of Oakwood Drive, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“There were no vital signs when we arrived,” said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth, whose deputies arrived at 2:48 p.m. “(There were) no signs of trauma — no signs of foul play.

“The young man was at his grandfather’s house on (Ohio) 13 in Milan Township,” he said.

The house borders the Huron River. Sigsworth said Warneck and his grandfather had changed the battery on the trolling motor of a boat and Warneck wanted to test-drive the boat before a fishing trip that evening.

“He went to take the boat out for a test (drive). He told the grandpa he was going to go out,” the sheriff said.

After a delay in hearing from his grandson, the man started looking for him. Sigsworth said the grandfather found Warneck "laying across the submerged stern of the boat," which was “right off the back door and down the bank.”

“The boat was back at the bank,” he said. “Grandpa estimated (his grandson) was gone 30 to 45 minutes before he discovered him.”

Deputies interviewed Warneck’s family. Sigsworth said the victim, who visited his grandfather’s home “quite regularly,” had an underlying medical condition, which may have been a factor. The sheriff declined to elaborate.

There was a slow-running current in the river Wednesday afternoon. Sigsworth said it’s possible Warneck ended up in the water after he came into shore and was in the process of docking the boat.

The sheriff’s office was called at 2:37 p.m. and arrived 11 minutes later. North Central EMS and the Milan Township Fire Department also responded to the scene.

"They got there a short time after we did,” Sigsworth said.

Erie County Coroner Dr. Brian Baxter ordered Warneck’s body be transported to Foster Funeral Home in Huron. A spokeswoman with the Lucas County Coroner’s officer said an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Warneck graduated in June from Norwalk High School. As a junior and senior, he studied construction technology at EHOVE Career Center.

“He was a nice kid. He was quiet,” said NHS Principal Brad Cooley, who remembered that Warneck’s goal was work hard and have good enough grades and attendance to go to EHOVE.

In July 2012, Warneck was one of seven EHOVE students to attend the SkillsUSA Summer Leadership Conference at Hocking College in Nelsonville. He also was an honor roll student.



So sad


My thoughts and prayers go out to the Brutcher and Warneck family. This is such a sad loss.


so sad - so tragic - so young - praying for this young man's family.


Sigsworth said the grandfather found Warneck floating face down in the stern of the boat.

Was the boat full of water ? I must be missing something here...How does one drown in a boat ?
Nice edit job...makes more sense now. My Lord do you people proof read anything ? Journalism 101
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family.


with so many unknowns, 1 could say possible hit bank to hard he fell forward lost his wind/knocked out?? face down in water??? Just never know. Life is just a blink


Seriously guys, this is a local news story not Investigation Discovery or some other "murder porn TV". The reason for this article is to give you the basics of what happened so we can mourn appropriately. It is not a detailed fact report so that you can play CSI and determine the root cause of the accident. There are professional investigators who have already determined those details it just isn't necessary to print.


Not what we were looking for there smarta$$. Prior to this "journalist" editing the story it was poorly written & confusing. RIP young man.


Such a horrible tragedy. My deepest sympathy and prayers to this heartbroken family.


I watched this young man grow up, prayers to the family


this boy was my bestfriend; you will never be forgot Jeff. I love and miss you:,( prayers for the Warneck family.

Sitting In The ...

I'm sorry for your loss....

Cliff Cannon

Few,if any, of life's great tragedy's ,compete with the loss of a child,even worse to lose one in the blink of an eye. Thought's, prayers and tears to these family's


Such a sad loss. My heartfelt prayers go out to his family. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. God be with them.


So sorry for your loss.
Many prayers.


I went to school with Jeff. He was like a big brother to me. My prayers go out to his family... he was such an incredible person. I'll never forget the memories we had together :'(