DOOR COUNTY - The waters of Lake Michigan have finally let go of a decade-old mystery.
The sheriff's department confirms the body found in Whitefish Bay on Saturday is that of diver 52-year-old Dirk Kann of Guttenberg, Iowa. He had been missing since 1999.
"He still had his diving gear on, in fact," explained Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel during a news conference Sunday night.
This weekend, Vogel says two experienced divers found the remains of Kann 225 feet below the water's surface.
Officials say Kann disappeared while diving with friends on Sept. 4, 1999.
Officials say they were exploring the popular shipwreck Lakeland.
"We made numerous attempts through the years to try to recover him with technological advancements. We used some of that to go down there, but his remains weren't found until Saturday," Vogel said.
Authorities say Kann's body was recovered near the wreck. It sits about seven miles east of the Sturgeon Bay canal in more than 200 feet of water.
Video taken by diver Garrett Van Dreel a few years ago shows the wreck.
It's unique because the original cargo of early 20th century cars is still visible. That makes it a popular diving destination, but only for experienced divers.
"That particular shipwreck is what we call a technical dive," explained diver and owner of Green Bay Scuba Alan Pahnke. "When it's so deep, you need much more training to go down there than a normal sport diver would."
Pahnke says the water temperature at that depth is around 36 degrees. He says the conditions would preserve a body for a long time.
"Because of the pressure and the depth it's at, there's not a lot of oxygen down there," Pahnke said. "Plus the cold, it's like a refrigerator, it'll keep for quite awhile."
The sheriff's department did not release the exact condition of the body.
However, officials say the results from the autopsy helped to confirm the identity.
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