West Chicago woman’s body found in river

Chicago News

A body found in the West Branch of the DuPage River has been identified as that of a West Chicago woman.

Anna DeJong, 18, was identified after an autopsy Thursday. Coroner Richard Jorgensen said the preliminary cause of death was drowning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County police recovered DeJong’s body Wednesday morning from the West Branch of the DuPage River south of Mack Road in West Chicago. The discovery came 12 days after she was swept away by the flooded river while she was walking her two dogs at Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve.

DeJong tried to cross a flooded pedestrian bridge near Geneva and Winfield roads shortly before 6 p.m. on May 15. She got swept away by the current as she walked through waist-high water on the bridge, authorities said.

Searchers rescued one dog May 15, forest preserve officials said. The body of the second dog was recovered May 21 in the river at Winfield Mounds.

Forest preserve officials said more than 100 search and rescue personnel and volunteers scoured the river from Winfield to Warrenville on May 15 and 16 in search of the woman. Boats equipped with sonar and infrared-equipped underwater drones were used during the search.

DeJong’s body was found Wednesday by two officers searching the waterway by kayak at Blackwell Forest Preserve, officials said. The location is roughly 5.5 miles south of Winfield Mounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

West Chicago and Warrenville fire departments assisted with the recovery, officials said.

“On behalf of the forest preserve district, I would like to send our sincere condolences to her family and friends,” Forest Preserve District Police Chief David Pederson said. “All of us are truly saddened by today’s news, and our appreciation goes to all of the first responders and volunteers who worked so tirelessly to find her.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help DeJong’s family. The page at www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-annas-family has raised more than $66,000.

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