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Local

Body found near Starved Rock State Park identified

Utica Fire Department's Rick Maltas (right) helps launch the Utica Fire District rescue boat carrying firefighters and Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Phil Wire on Saturday.
Utica Fire Department's Rick Maltas (right) helps launch the Utica Fire District rescue boat carrying firefighters and Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Phil Wire on Saturday.

Authorities are waiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death of a man found in the Illinois River around midday Saturday, one-half mile upstream from Starved Rock Lock and Dam.

On Sunday, an autopsy was conducted by the McClean County Coroner’s Office which identified the body as Michael J. Warmerdam, 37, from Wheaton, Ill. Police said that at this time, no additional information will be released, but that the investigation is active and ongoing.

Conservation Sgt. Phil Wire said there was a lot of mud at the site of the discovery of Warmerdam's body, and expected the autopsy would reveal more as to cause of death. Wire said Warmerdam's body was not deteriorated badly, perhaps partly because of cool weather.

Wire said the coroner’s office and Illinois State Police investigators have taken charge of the investigation.

On Saturday, a kayaker reported seeing a body, called for help and waited for police and firefighters to arrive via the Utica Fire Department's rescue boat. The kayaker waited at the scene before paddling back to the Point Shelter launch site.

“She was very well-prepared for the cold,” Wire said, noting that the paddler was wearing a neoprene wetsuit.

Anyone with any information about the Warmerdam or the incident is encouraged to contact Illinois State Police Special Agent Novotney at 815-224-1171, ext. 139.

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