Victims perished near New Year's Eve party - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Victims perished near New Year's Eve party

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MCFARLAND (WKOW) -- Authorities tell 27 News two people whose bodies were found in a car after a fire was extinguished were at a New Year's Eve party in McFarland before their deaths.

In a statement, Dane County's medical examiner's office listed the deaths of 24-year-old Brandon Slattery and 21-year-old Amy Damon, both of Edgerton as accidental.

McFarland Police Chief Craig Sherven tells 27 News Slattery and Damon left the party on Tuscobia Trail at 5 A.M New Year's Day.  Sherven says the car was discovered about a block away, on Holscher Road, fully engulfed in flames at 6:00 A.M. 

Sherven tells 27 News the couple had arrived at the party with a friend, in the friend's older model, Pontiac Grand Am. Sherven says when the friend decided to remain at the party the next morning, he gave Slattery and Damon permission to use the car to return to Edgerton.

Sherven tells 27 News state investigators have used the fire's burn pattern to tentatively conclude the fire began somewhere in or around the car's engine compartment. 

Sherven says investigators do not why the couple pulled over almost immediately after leaving the party.

Friends say Slattery and Damon were engaged, with a November wedding planned. They say  Slattery was an auto mechanic and volunteer youth football coach, and Damon a beloved nurse.

Becky Zarling graduated with Damon from Madison College's nursing program in May 2012. Zarling and fellow students from that nursing class are raising funds to place a bench in Damon's honor and memory near the school's new, health sciences building.

"Amy, as much as any of us, wanted to be a nurse," Zarling tells 27 News. "She gave her life for two years to the school. For the rest of us, she was a morale-builder. Most caring person you've ever met," Zarling says.

Madison College officials provide this information for anyone interested in the tribute effort for Amy Damon:

Send check in care of and to:
Madison College Foundation
1701 Wright Street
Madison, WI 53704
*In the memo area of the check, please put "Amy Damon Memorial Fund".
Folks can also donate online at: 

College officials say Slattery was also a graduate of a program at the college.


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