Lake Michigan

Woman's Body Found in Lake Michigan Identified as Missing Transgender Activist

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The body of a woman found in Lake Michigan in suburban Evanston Thursday evening was identified as missing transgender activist Elise Malary, according to police.

Evanston police said officials responded to Garden Park in the 500 block of Sheridan Square at approximately 4:30 p.m. to find the body of a Black woman by the rocks.

Malary's body was pulled from the water and taken to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, police said.

The 31-year-old activist was reported missing by a family member on March 11, Evanston police said. She last had contact with her family two days earlier.

Her car was found late Tuesday afternoon in a city parking lot at Hinmand Avenue and South Boulevard, according to police.

Malary was a former employee of the civil rights bureau at the Illinois Attorney General's office, according to Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

"After hoping for several days that our friend and colleague Elise Malary would be safely reunited with her family, friends and loved ones, we have received confirmation of the unthinkable," he said in a statement, in part. “...Her kindness and infectious smile will be missed by those who worked with her."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in a Tweet called Malary's death "heartbreaking."

"...My heart goes out to all her loved ones, as well as all of Illinois’ transgender community," he added. "You deserve to feel safe in your home, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make Illinois welcoming and inclusive for everyone."

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