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2 father-son pairs among dead in plane crash

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/5/2017 Haley Hansen
In this image made from a video provided by WAOW-TV debris from a plane crash covers the road on July, 2, 2017, near Phillips, Wis. © AP In this image made from a video provided by WAOW-TV debris from a plane crash covers the road on July, 2, 2017, near Phillips, Wis.

MILWAUKEE — Law enforcement identified the six people, including two father-son pairs, who were killed in a plane crash shortly after a discussion about "weather phenomenon" in northern Wisconsin early Saturday.

The Price County (Wis.) Sheriff’s Office released the following names Monday:

Kevin James King, 70, of Bensenville, Ill.; James Francis, 63, of Norco, Calif.; Kyle Demauro, 21, of Bensenville, Ill.; Thomas Demauro, 56, of Bensenville, Ill.; Charles Tomlitz, 69, of Addison, Ill.; George Tomlitz, 45, of Brookfield, Ill.

Family and friends confirmed on social media the father-son relationship of the Demauros and the Tomlitzes.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said the plane's debris field might suggest an in-flight break up, but he stressed that the cause of the crash still isn't clear.

"This is just the beginning of the investigation," he said. "We have not ruled anything in or out."

The Cessna airplane crashed at 3:21 a.m. Saturday near the northern Wisconsin city of Phillips. The plane was found near state Highway 111 and U.S. Highway 8 in the Town of Harmony.

The Cessna 421 left from the Chicago area and was heading to Canada on a fishing trip, the Sheriff's Office said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said there was a discussion between the pilot and air traffic controllers about “local weather phenomenon.” Soon after, the aircraft dropped off radar. The NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Price County Sheriff's Office are investigating the crash. 

Tioga Elementary School in Bensenville, Ill., a community just southwest of O'Hare International Airport, announced the death of physical education teacher Thomas DeMauro and a maintenance director for the district, Charles "Chuck" Tomlitz, on Saturday.

"Mr. DeMauro and Mr. Tomlitz will be missed by all the Tioga Community," the school's co-principals wrote in a Facebook post.

As of Tuesday, nearly 300 people shared the post and more than 100 left comments. Parents and former students mourned the loss of the two men. Many remembered the two for their kindness and friendliness. Others wrote about the positive impact the men had on their children's lives. 

On Monday, community members created a Facebook page, "Tioga remembers Mr DeMauro and Chuck Tomlitz," to share stories and discuss memorials for the men. 

Another passenger was identified as DeMauro's son, Kyle, in a GoFundMe page created on Sunday for the family.

Chuck Tomlitz' son, George, also died in the crash, according to a Facebook post from Taltson Bay Big Pike Lodge in Northwest Territories, Canada. Chuck Tomlitz had taken several trips to the lodge.

"Chuck always had a smile and fishing stories to tell," the post read.

Nina Trader, a former student of Thomas DeMauro, said he had a profound impact on countless students. Some of her friends from high school have children who recently had DeMauro as a teacher.

“He was one of those teachers who was really engaged with his students, and he really wanted his students to succeed," she said. 

Trader, 35, said DeMauro's care and his interest in his students always felt genuine. She said she remembers DeMauro and his wife showing off newborn Kyle at school and said she always enjoyed running into the family around the Bensenville area. 

"I don't know anybody who didn't love Mr. DeMauro," she said. "He was so beloved." 

Follow Haley Hansen on Twitter: @HaleHansen

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