Woman's Body Recovered From Chicago River

Lauren Li was among three people who fell into the icy water early Monday morning while trying to retrieve a cell phone

Thursday, Jan 16, 2014  |  Updated 5:12 AM CDT
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Lauren Li was studying to be a doctor, died trying to help a friend who fell in the Chicago River.

Lauren Li was studying to be a doctor, died trying to help a friend who fell in the Chicago River.

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Body Identified as Woman Who Fell in Chicago River

Lauren Li, 21, tried to save her friend who fell in the river trying to retrieve a phone. Nesita Kwan reports.

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Two people die, one hospitalized after falling into Chicago River trying to retrieve cell phone. Natalie Martinez reports.
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The body of a woman who fell into the Chicago River early Monday was recovered Wednesday.

Lauren Li was recovered by the Chicago Police Marine Unit around 1 p.m. near the 400 block of East Water Street, according to Chicago Police News Affairs.

Dive crews had been searching the river for Li after three people fell in while trying to retrieve a cell phone, officials said.

The two men were quickly retrieved but the search for Li went on.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Li's father said he had concerns about his daughter traveling to Chicago because he felt her car was unsafe, so he loaned her his four-wheel drive truck.

Li was studying to become a doctor, and volunteered at a Minnesota hospice clinic so she could learn more about handling patients.

"Lauren was a very bright and enthusiastic volunteer. She was very caring and very open to lots of possibilities of working with people," Li's co-worker Anne Myers-Richards said.

Authorities said Ken Hoang, 26, from St. Paul, Minn., climbed over a fence and fell in the water while trying to find a phone he'd dropped. Quoc-Viet Phan Hoang, 23, and Li both fell in while trying to help him.

Quoc-Viet was released from a local hospital Wednesday, and released a statement Tuesday thanking everyone for their "prayers and support," particularly Luis Bertrand, who came to his aid and called 911.

“I lost two good friends,” Hoang said in the written statement. “It’s not easy seeing your friend drift away and having one die in your arms. I have never felt so helpless in my life. This situation is very emotionally difficult and out of respect for the families involved I would like to leave it at that.”

An autopsy conducted Tuesday found Ken Hoang drowned, and listed alcohol toxicity as a secondary factor, the medical examiner’s office said. His death was ruled an accident.

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