Arlington Heights woman drowns while saving 3 boys

A suburban Arlington Heights woman drowned while saving three boys in a northern Wisconsin lake.

A suburban Arlington Heights woman drowned while saving three boys in a northern Wisconsin lake.

Karen Wessel, 47, was vacationing with friends and relatives, including her son. Wessel and her sister have a summer home in far northern Wisconsin.

When they saw three boys struggling in Star Lake near the town of Plum Lake, Wis., they jumped in and saved the boys. But after Wessel pushed the last child above the surface of the lake, she went under.

She was pulled from the water, but did not survive.

"It's important to know that she saved a little boy's life that's going to grow up and live a full life, and she is a hero. And people need to know that there are heroes," said Janice Potocki, sister.

Wessel was a secretary at a Chicago law firm. She's survived by her 9-year-old son Michael and 17-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.
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