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UPDATE: Vilas County Sheriff dies after illnessSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


EAGLE RIVER - The Vilas County Sheriff's Office loses its leader overnight. Frank Tomlanovich gave 34 years of service to Vilas County, and dedicated his life to law enforcement.

The 61-year-old sheriff passed away early this morning. Tomlanovich died in his home after a short illness.

Captain Russ Kennedy says it was a shock for everyone.

"Frank was well liked in the community and extremely well liked by his men; they enjoyed serving under him. Excellent sheriff, a very good man, we'll miss him dearly," says Captain Kennedy.

Captain Kennedy says they are mourning the Sheriff's passing. But the department will have to keep working.

"I've been telling the officers to keep working hard, as always. Keep moving forward, we'll get through this. Ultimately the Governor will have to appoint an interim sheriff to take over the duties that Frank had. He would tell us all the same thing: keep working hard, keep your chin up and move forward," says Captain Kennedy.

The Sheriff started his career at the Eagle River Police Department. Then he was a patrol deputy and detective sergeant with the Sheriff's Office. He became sheriff in 2010.

Governor Scott Walker made a statement today about the sheriff: "Tonette and I send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Vilas County Sheriff Frank Tomlanovich. Sheriff Tomlanovich dedicated his life to protecting and serving the people of northern Wisconsin. We honor his life of public service and send our thoughts and prayers to all who knew him."



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Police say it might have taken hours to find the man man, but thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office's new drone, it only took about 45 minutes.

According to the Lincoln County Coroner, 76-year-old William Storm drowned to death.

Police got the call around 4 p.m. Wednesday from the family saying Storm had been missing since about 12:30 p.m. that day. He had gone out hunting and returned back to his home to get his waders before going back out to find the deer he had shot.

Ground searchers first found the deer Storm had shot. That's when deputies sent the drone up into the air, and using thermal imaging, were able to find his body in less than an hour. He was found next to Pine River in the woods.

Police could have had to ground search about 120 acres, but the drone helped them whittle that area down to just about a few football fields.

"When they find the deer, if we don't have the UAV it's going to turn into a ground search where they're just going to have to grid the whole area and that could be the whole 120 acres or it could be 2 acres, it could be right away," said Lt. Andy VanderWyst. "You're relying a lot on luck then too."

Police flew the drone about 160 feet in the air, which is high, because they didn't know if tall trees or power lines would get in the way.

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