The death of 25-year-old Peter Salvino, a Northwestern doctoral student whose body was found this week in Lake Michigan, marks the second young man to be found dead in the water in Chicago this month.
Earlier in December, 21-year-old Polish businessman Krzysztof Szubert was also found dead in the lake after disappearing from a holiday party at a River North bar one weekend.
In Salvino’s case, police confirmed shortly after 6pm on Tuesday that a body had been recovered in Diversey harbour, near where his phone had been pinged for the last time since his disappearance.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Salvino’s identity Tuesday evening. An autopsy is pending and a cause of death has not yet been released.
Salvino was last seen leaving a party in Lincoln Park in the 2400 block of North Geneva Terrace late Saturday night, last connecting with a friend via FaceTime while walking back to his apartment at around 12:15 p.m.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the family explained that Salvino spoke to a friend via FaceTime at 11:59 p.m. and said he walked to his apartment in the 800 block of West Lill Avenue and was about half a mile away. That friend called again at 12:15 a.m. to confirm that Salvino had arrived home, but the 25-year-old said he was still walking to his residence.
At 12:31 a.m., Salvino’s phone pinged a location near Diversey Harbor, the family spokesman said. Then, at 12:37 a.m., the friend called again to confirm that Salvino had come home, but the call went unanswered. Several friends sent text messages to his phone between then and 9:30 a.m., the spokesman said, adding that the messages had been successfully delivered to his phone, but went unanswered.
At about 9:45 am, all calls went straight to voicemail and all text messages went undelivered.
The man’s family and friends had enlisted the public’s help in recent days to view nearby surveillance footage in hopes of retracing his steps.
“The goal is to get CCTV,” said Scotty Gruska, Salvino’s brother-in-law. “We haven’t heard from him since Saturday midnight. We all miss him. I know people are working on it and the police are doing everything they can. But we want to do more.”
Surveillance video from The Weiner Circle restaurant in Lincoln Park also provided footage of Salvino in the eatery Saturday night before he went missing.
Anyone with information or surveillance footage is asked to contact the Area Three Special Victims Unit at 312-744-8266.
Salvino’s family released a statement shortly after his body was found, thanking police and the public and asking for privacy.
“We are both shattered and relieved to report that sooner [Tuesday], we found Peter while searching at sea in Diversey harbour. Over the past three days, we have been overwhelmed with the support and assistance we have received from friends, family and local residents and businesses in our search for Peter,” the statement said. “We are immensely grateful for their diligence, without which Peter might never have been found.
“At this time, our family appreciates the public for providing us with privacy as we process our grief over this devastating loss,” the statement concluded.
Salvino’s death marks the second case of a young man’s body found in Lake Michigan this month.
About two weeks ago, the body of a 21-year-old man was found in Lake Michigan on Oak Street. Krzysztof Szubert was a Polish businessman who had been working in Chicago since November and was recently missing, his family and officials confirmed to NBC 5.
Days before his body was found, officials said Szubert was last seen at a holiday party at the River North bar Howl at the Moon.
Friends say Szubert was at the party when he stepped out.
“I saw him standing there, and the next moment he wasn’t there,” friend Michal Wojasinski told NBC 5. “No one saw him leave. The next day, Sunday, I went to his room and knocked on the door — it was empty – he was not there.”
While officials have still not released a cause of death or manner of death for Szubert, detectives have called the incident a death investigation rather than a drowning.
Police have so far not said if there is a connection between the cases, but acknowledged that detectives are investigating both cases, which are “pending autopsy results”.