Search for Castillo Called Off

Earlier Sonar results net no body

By Dick Johnson
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 8:19 PM CDT
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Crews Search for Cashmere Castillo

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A Father's Agony

Father of Cashmere Castillo talks about the frustration he has waiting for police to find his son who disappeared into the river
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A team of frustrated divers and recovery personnel have called off for the evening their search for an 8-year-old boy who fell in the Chicago River on Sunday.

The team spent all day Tuesday doubling down on their search with more advanced sonar equipment and an increased search radius.

Cashmere Castillo disappeared while playing tag with friends near his Albany Park home.

Specialists from Lake and McHenry counties arrived Tuesday morning with the more powerful Sonar equipment. A joint specialized response team using a side-scan Sonar boat began dragging the river late in the morning and crews doubled back to Foster Avenue and expanded their search to include spillways down river.

On Monday, divers were investigating a location in about 6 to 8 feet of unforgiving water where they suspected the body was located.

But despite an elaborate tethering preparation and a vertical pole to guide a diver and help him lower himself, a diver could not get down low enough to make contact with whatever was below the water's surface.  Tuesday's search has so far been equally frustrating for rescue crews.

The conditions are atypical, those who live nearby say.

"In summertime, when there's no rain and it's just drought, the river's very low. You can stand over the bridge and just see the bottom.  It's no more than a foot, foot-and-a-half deep, really," said longtime resident Ivar Penaz.

On Sunday, Castillo's older brother, 13-year old Christian, had been playing basketball nearby and watched his sibling fall into the water.

"He slipped," said Christian. "I just ran after him, jumped the gate and I tried to run with him"

Christian called 911 and the Chicago Fire Department immediately dispatched its firefighters, its dive unit and a helicopter to the scene, but rough waters made the search difficult.

"We encountered swift water, we encountered zero visibility, a lot of debris floating in the river," said Ron Dorneker, Commander with the Chicago Fire Department Special Operations Unit.

Rescue crews called off their search at sunset Sunday, but Cashmere Castillo's mother and father, Wilfredo and Christian, stayed at the scene throughout the night, shining flashlights at the dark water. Cashmere Castillo could not swim. His family had hoped for a miracle.
 

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