The icy Mississippi River is slowing down the search for a missing Wisconsin man. Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Kruziki was last seen Christmas Eve morning outside a bar in East Dubuque. Randy Degenhardt, a life-long fisherman in the area, offered to help search crews drag the river in search of Matt Kruziki’s body. “I think it’s something that somebody has got to do, not everybody wants to do it and I don’t mind doing it,” he says. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years.”
In those 30 years, Degenhardt recovered four bodies in drag operations. But Degenhardt says Wednesday’s search was hampered by floating chunks of ice that’re jamming up the river and keeping the boats from moving through the water. “I wish we could have found him (yesterday),” Degenhardt says. “A lot of time went into this and it’s getting colder now.”
East Dubuque Police Chief Steve O’Connell says the wind was blowing the boats around on the river. “It’s creating some terrible working conditions for (those) guys,” he says. “It’s making it hard for them to work.” The police chief says the search may continue if conditions improve. “This problem is it’s January and to have this much water out here is unusual, so we’re going to take advantage of having the open water while we can,” he says. Kruziki’s family had been participating in the search but left the Dubuque area last night to return home to Wisconsin.