First I hear of a young boy pulled out of Lake Erie after his dad ditched his Cessna 172C in to the lake.
Then I learn that Steve Fossett took off in his Citabria from Barron Hilton's Flying Ranch, and did not check in with his wife in a timely manner.
Both pilots were flying under Visual Flight Rules. That means that they did not need to file a flight plan, they were not being followed by ATC, and they really did not have to check in with anybody.
Both airplanes are required to have an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter). This device sends out a signal if the airplane suffers a severe jar. It is rather sensitive, because a hard landing will set it off.
While the dad piloting the 172 is certainly dead, Fosset may still be alive. I hope they find him.