Wrongful Death Lawsuit filed in Eau Clarie Drowning Death

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

The parents of a 21-year-old man who drowned July 20, 2011 in the Chippewa River have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a person who was swimming with their son.

Larry and Anita Fike allege the man in the river with their 21-year-old son, Joseph, somehow played a role in his death. Eau Claire police say they found no indication of foul play.

Detectives from the Eau Claire Police Department say their investigation, along with the autopsy, showed Fike died of an accidental drowning. She says her son was a strong swimmer and a smart swimmer. And even if he had been, he wouldn't have gone into the Chippewa River.

During an interview with WEAU-TV last year, Anita Fike said even though her son’s death was ruled as a drowning she has her doubts. “We're wanting to know exactly what happened, because everybody that we talked to that was on the island, we have gotten such conflicting stories from what they were telling us, and what they're telling the police is totally different. And we just want to know what happened to our baby,” she says.

Leader-Telegram says toxicology tests shows Fike's blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for driving.

The couple is offering a $10,000 reward for information surrounding his death. If you have information surrounding the death of Joseph Fike call 715-533-9107 or 715-533-9362.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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