Left and Center: Madott, circa 1994; Right: Age-Progression
David William Madott
Missing since November 11, 1994 from Marco Island, Collier County, Florida.
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
On November 11, 1994, four young men from Mississauga, Ontario, left the Marco River Marina in a 25-foot boat for an afternoon of fishing and diving at the wreck of the Baja California, a freighter sunk by a German submarine during World War II. David Madott, childhood friend Omar Shearer; and Kent Munro, joined 27-year-old Jeff Wandich, an experienced boater and diver whose family owned a condominium on Marco Island. Only Wandich would return.
He offered this account at the time: After anchoring the "Sea Esta," a center console boat with an open cockpit and dual outboard motors (225 horsepower), the four fished near the wreck before donning their scuba gear for a dive to the sunken boat 120 feet below.
All four divers left the boat at the same time - a practice discouraged by diving instructors - and descended the anchor line. At 35 feet, Shearer and Munro stopped and headed back to the surface after Munro had difficulty equalizing his pressure. Madott and Wandich continued their descent.
Twenty minutes later, Madott and Wandich returned to the surface, only to find the boat's stern submerged and its bow sticking out three feet above the water line.
That was at 15:30. The four men released their dive tanks - but kept on their inflatable life vests - and clung to the boat until it sank completely less than four hours later. Under a pitch black sky, the four friends decided to swim to a communications tower three miles away. Wandich made it and was later rescued. The others were never seen again.
An air and sea search by the U.S. Coast Guard and private boaters ensued, stretching from Fort Myers Beach to the Florida Keys. Diving crews hired by the missing men's families searched the site, finding personal items from the sunken boat but little else, including virtually none of the diving gear. The search was called off after several days.
The FBI briefly investigated. Wandich took, and passed, a lie detector test. With no leads and little evidence, the case was closed and the men have never been seen again.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Naples Daily News
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