The body of a 16-year-old boy who went missing in the Des Plaines River over the weekend has been found after a days-long search, authorities said Thursday.
Cameron Sanders' body was found just before 10:30 a.m. about 150 yards from Rainbow Bridge, between First and Thatcher Avenues in Thatcher Woods, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
"The Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation into this tragic loss of life," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with Cameron's family at this most difficult time."
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said the office intensified its search efforts Tuesday, bringing in sonar boats, helicopters, search dogs and searchers on foot.
The search began Saturday afternoon, when officials said three kids jumped in the river at the Rainbow Bridge in Thatcher Woods, located near the intersection of Thatcher Ave. and W. Bloomingdale Ave. in unincorporated Cook County.
Just two of them resurfaced, with witnesses recalling that the third, a 16-year-old boy, couldn’t swim.
“He was like 30 yards from the bridge and he just started going down,” said John Singel, who was part of the group of approximately 12 kids at the river Saturday afternoon.
The two jumpers didn’t realize that the third was struggling until they were back on land, at which point they called 911, another witness added.
“They were trying to see where he was, because he was already under the water by the time they got to shore, so they didn’t see him,” said Michelle Chajduk.
Emergency crews first responded to the scene around 3 p.m., according to the Melrose Park Fire Department. Several other agencies, including the Cook County Forest Preserve Police, the Illinois State Police, as well as the Chicago Fire and Police Departments, were assisting in the recovery mission.
The bridge is "an extremely hazardous and unmarked location, void of any fencing," the sheriff's office said.
After walking the bridge Monday evening, Dart said he "demanded" the owner of the bridge, Canadian National Railway, secure it with fencing and post signage "to prevent another tragedy."
On Tuesday, notes of love and prayers signed by friends and supporters could be seen placed at the end of the bridge alongside flowers.