Group Ends Search for Missing Kayaker After Body Believed Found: Family

Family members and search groups believe they have found the body of a kayaker who went missing in a southwest Chicago suburb over the weekend. 

According to an update in a Facebook group dedicated to finding the missing 21-year-old, Jake Rodriguez’s body was found Monday afternoon. The search group called on volunteers to end search efforts and family members also confirmed the news on social media.

“We wish to thank absolutely everyone for the support during this very difficult time,” the post read. “A more formal thank you will go out later. There are no additional details to provide at this time, and I ask personally that the family now be given time to grieve in private. Again, from the entire family to everyone who has assisted in any and all ways, thank you.”

Authorities could not immediately be reached for official confirmation, however. 

Rodriguez went missing Saturday while kayaking with others on the Vermillion River in Streator, authorities said. His kayak flipped over and he initially resurfaced before being pulled back under and getting swept away by the current.

“There was three kayakers together, two others made it out,” said Reading Fire Chief Paul Losey.

Rescue crews spent days searching in and around the river from Rhodes to Sandy Ford, but only Rodriguez’s kayak could be found. By Monday morning, the search had transitioned to a recovery effort.

“We’re very grateful for everybody who has come down here and has volunteered their time and grateful to the community for the outpouring,” Rodriguez’s uncle Jeff Yacko told reporters over the weekend.

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