Former MU student drowns in Lake Mendota

Memorial services were held Saturday to remember Richard “Grady” de la Cruz, a former Marquette student who transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison this year, at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Milwaukee. de la Cruz drowned Wednesday in Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis.

de la Cruz was swimming with two other people near Porter Boathouse, home of UW-Madison’s rowing team, when he reportedly became separated from the group and did not resurface, according to a Madison Fire Department press release. The Fire Department Lake Rescue Team was called at 3:19 p.m., and rescue divers were in the water within minutes of launching the rescue boat. 

The rescue divers conducted multiple searches underwater where de la Cruz was last seen, and Dane County Sheriff’s Office personnel assisted with a scanning sonar unit.

The rescue team was released from the scene at 5:15 p.m., and Dane County Sheriff’s personnel located the body at 6:45 p.m. 

The Office of the Dane County Medical Examiner confirmed in a press release that preliminary findings from a forensic autopsy Thursday were consistent with an accidental drowning.

de la Cruz, a Wauwatosa native, was about to begin his junior year at UW-Madison after transferring from Marquette’s College of Arts & Sciences. He graduated from Marquette University High School in 2011. His death comes almost one year after another UW-Madison student drowned in the same lake.