Police Incident Reports A Selection of Noteworthy Incident Reports

Incidents listed are selected by the Officer In Charge of each shift that may have significant public interest. Incidents listed are not inclusive of all incidents. To view Calls for Services information, please visit communitycrimemap.com. Requests for information can be directed to the MPD Records Unit: (608) 266-4075.

Incident Report for Case #2014-226482

Incident Type

Missing Adult

Incident Date

07/16/2014 - 12:15 PM


3600 block Nakoma Rd.


The last time the MPD's Mounted Patrol was making news some of our horses were brushing up against Broadway. This time the team's getting ink for much more important and meaningful work: finding a vulnerable and lost citizen.

MPD horses, as the team showed us this past Freakfest, can see things humans on foot cannot, and that proved to be key in reuniting 74-year old Stephen Nelsen with his worried wife late yesterday afternoon.

Since Wednesday, the MPD had deployed a number of resources and tactics to help locate the retired UW-Madison professor. A command post had been established, fliers were being distributed, and police dogs and citizen tips were giving officers some locations where Mr. Nelsen might have traveled. However, there had been few new clues as the waning hours of Thursday afternoon closed in. Mr. Nelsen had now been missing for nearly 30 hours.

And so it was, around 4:30 p.m., that Beau and Scarlett took officers Sarah McLaughlin and Ken Mulry along a 3-foot high stone wall which abuts the Arboretum along Nakoma Rd. – not far from Mr. Nelsen's home.

Officer McLaughlin and Beau were on point, with Scarlett and Officer Mulry close behind. The brush was thick, and it would have been difficult to impossible for a passerby to see it, but Officer McLaughlin – from her high perch – could: it was bent knee. Officer Mulry took a closer look and saw clothing that matched what the missing man had been wearing. He went into the bush and found a disoriented Mr. Nelsen on his back. He was "awake but unable to get up," wrote Officer Mulry in his report. Based on the disturbed ground around Mr. Nelsen it appeared he had been there a long time.

Officers McLaughlin and Mulry cleared a hole in the brush so Madison Fire Department paramedics could come in and get Mr. Nelsen to a hospital, which is where he was reunited with his wife.

It was a good day for the MPD's Mounted Patrol. Officer McLaughlin sent an email to her sergeant telling him of the news: "All in all, Beau and Scarlett are happy that Mr. Nelsen appeared okay!" 



Update 7/17/14 @ 4:35pm

Mr Nelsen was located in the 3300 block on Nakoma this afternoon by members of the Madison Police Department Mounted Patrol.  He appeared to be in good health but was being evaluated by medical staff as a precautionary measure.

Lt Amy Schwartz


Mr. Stephen Nelsen has not been located. Again, anyone seeing him should call 911.

The MPD's mounted patrol and K9 unit assisted in yesterday's search for Mr. Nelsen. A police dog led officers in the direction of Regent Street. Mr. Nelsen used to work on the UW-Madison campus, and could have walked towards the Isthmus.

Officers have alerted staff at the Edgewood campus, the Henry Vilas Zoo, and UW-Madison Police to be on the lookout for Mr. Nelsen, and a reverse 911 call was also made to citizens in the area.  

Mr. Nelsen could also have walked in a different direction. For instance,

a citizen believed she saw him near Tokay Blvd. around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. He also lives near the Arboretum.

The 74-year old has no cell phone, no money, and no food. There is genuine concern for his welfare.


Last updated 07/18/2014 at 11:43 AM by PIO Joel DeSpain


The MPD is seeking citizen help in finding a 74-year old man. Mr. Stephen Nelsen suffers from memory issues and walked away from his Nakoma area home early this afternoon. Mr. Nelsen is six-feet tall with white hair. He was last seen wearing a red long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and black shoes.

Anyone seeing Mr. Nelsen should call 911 so officers can help get him home.

Update 7/17/14 @ 4:35pm
Mr Nelsen was located in the 3700 block on Nakoma this afternoon by members of the Madison Police Department Mounted Patrol.  He appeared to be in good health but was being evaluated by medical staff as a precautionary measure.  Thank you to everyone for assisting the police in the search for Mr Nelsen.

Lt Amy Schwartz

Released 07/16/2014 at 1:55 PM by PIO Joel DeSpain

The location shown is approximate & may not be accurate.