Search and rescue divers from the Story County Sheriff's Department were scouring a large gravel pit pond on Thursday at the Petersen Farm on 190th Street in hopes of finding missing local man Ethan Kazmerzak or his vehicle.
The six-person dive team from Story County was called in by Franklin County law enforcement agencies to help search the gravel pit pond, which was the site of a party where Kazmerzak was last seen at about 12 a.m. Sept. 15.
Franklin County Sheriff Larry Richtsmeier and Hampton police Chief Bob Schaefer as well as multiple other officers from both agencies were at the pond as the dive team searched the murky, plant-filled waters. At a headquarters on Nettle Avenue, north of 190th Street, Emergency Management Commission Coordinator Thomas Craighton was with Kazmerzak's parents - April Hemmes and Tom Kazmerzak - as well as two other relatives awaiting any possible news from divers.
Schaefer said the dive team was called in to make sure that Kazmerzak was not in the pond and to "cover all the bases" in the search.
The dive team cruised along the bottom of the pond, working their way through underwater plant growth and dark water in attempt to locate Kazmerzak or his car.
Schaefer did note that authorities had searched the perimeter of the pond for signs of Kazmerzak's car maybe driving into the pond, but that they did not find any indication that his car had accidentally gone into the pond and do not believe that occurred.
"We're just checking the pond here behind the residence where Ethan was last seen just to make sure that there isn't anything there," Schaefer said. "They've already been out here probably for about three hours. First of all, they did sonar to check places. Basically now, they're checking the shoreline where they could have been last at."
Schaefer said there was apparently a party at the pond which originated at a rental house off 190th Street that has access roads to the pond. Schaefer added that there were no new leads in the investigation and authorities were asking for help from anyone who may have seen Kazmerzak or his vehicle - a silver 2006 Volkswagen Jetta with Iowa license plates AUZ 382.
Kazmerzak's cell phone was last used at about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 15 and has not been used since then, said Richtsmeier.
Anyone with information about Kazmerzak's location is urged to call the Hampton Police Department at (641) 456-2529.