Message in bottle mystery may be getting clearer

Mad Jack's pit mentioned in bottle message, May 31, 2016 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

MARINETTE COUNTY (WLUK) -- The mystery surrounding a message found in a bottle floating near Marinette may be getting clearer.

County parks workers found the rusty baby food jar bobbing in the water last summer. Inside were photographs and a letter from a sister to her brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War.

RELATED | 'Message in a bottle' found in bay apparently dates to Vietnam War era

Jack Reske says clues to the message found in a bottle seem to point to one place.

"This is Mad Jack's pit," said Reske, who works for the Marinette County Parks Department.

Reske visited "Mad Jack's Pit" on Memorial Day. The site is referenced in the note, from a sister named Laura, to her brother Billy,

"I was hopeful that it was the Jack mentioned in the letter. And by all appearances, it is definitely Mad Jack that was mentioned in the letter," said Reske.

"I went out with her about 10 years ago," said Jack Cahill of the Town of Peshtigo.

Cahill says he knew Laura.

"O'Leary was her name. She was a Laura Harmon. She was married. Now, if she kept that name, I don't know," he said.

Cahill says Laura talked about her brother, known only by his first name - Billy.

"I had seen him in a scrapbook, before that she had," Cahill said.

Similar pictures? "Yeah."

So you recognize the pictures?

"Yeah, he was pretty young," said Cahill.

Cahill says his fire pit is a scenic spot, right on the bay of Green Bay.

"She might have been in the back getting rid of some stuff, and threw that thing in the water," he said.

In the estimated 10 years since Laura likely put the message in the bottle, it didn't travel very far. Cahill lives two doors down from where workers found the jar at Michaelis Park just south of Marinette.

"It's been bobbing a long time in the lake, and with all the storms, and the winds, I can't imagine that it only went that short distance," said Reske.

Meanwhile Cahill says Laura may be living in Texas.

"That's where she moved when she left here," he said.

A search on-line reveals 877 Laura Harmons in the U.S., including 66 from Texas.

"A few more pieces have been filled in, but nothing to finish the story. I hope that can come to light soon," said Reske.

"I don't know. Maybe that was her way of saying good bye to her brother, maybe she just wants it closed," said Cahill.

Do you know who Laura or Billy was? Email your information to and it will be forwarded to Marinette Co. parks employees.

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