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Two-day search for missing man ends

Bolingbrook, IL

Jeremy Asbell of Darien will be remembered as a loving father and friend.

The two-day search for Asbell, who went missing in a retention pond near Lemont earlier this week, ended when his body was found about 6 a.m. Thursday. The 25 year old man was in a canoe that had capsized.

His older brother, Jeff Asbell, who lives in Bolingbrook, said Jeremy loved his children, spent time with friends and family having fun and was interested in working on automobiles.

“His friends and his family were important to him,” his brother said. “Jeremy wasn’t a sit-and-watch TV guy; he always wanted to be out doing things, or having his head under the hood of car. He was confident with who he was, and he will never be forgotten.”

Jeremy Asbell was a 2004 graduate of Romeoville High School who lived in Darien, but was a former longtime Bolingbrook resident. His brother said he earned a degree from ITT Technical Institute in Burr Ridge and worked as cellphone technician for U.S. Cellular for more than three years before recently losing his job.

Jeremy Asbell had two children — a 6 year old and a 21 month old — who lived in separate homes with their mothers.

Jeff Asbell said he had spoken with his brother last Friday when Jeremy wanted to get together with him. But because Jeff is the recent parent of a newborn, he was unable to do so.

“The time just wasn’t there, and Jeremy understood that,” his brother said.

A friend and former classmate of Asbell, Melissa Sterk, said the world has “lost a great man” and a father with Jeremy’s passing.

“I grew up in school with him and have seen him through the years,” Sterk wrote about him in a Facebook comment to Suburban Life. “He is an amazing person and loving father. His smile was contagious, as well. He always brightened the room.”

Asbell’s body was transported Thursday morning to the DuPage County Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death. A toxicology report is a standard procedure once an autopsy is complete.

Jeremy Asbell had been missing since about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday when a 911 call came in to the Sheriff’s Office that he and another man were in a canoe in a retention pond along Woodward Avenue and Frontage Road in unincorporated Lemont. Officials from the Lemont Fire Protection District said the canoe apparently capsized shortly after 2 a.m., and one of the men made it to safety.

The large pond is about 10- to 12-feet deep in some places, and Fire Chief Carl Churulo called it “treacherous” due to the thick vegetation at the bottom. He said Wednesday that some of the divers reported being pulled under by that obstacle, which may have contributed to Asbell not being able to get out of the water.

His brother said the family still doesn’t know how Jeremy ended up in the pond that night and what the circumstances were that led to his death.

“We really don’t know the facts. The person he was with that night was someone he had only known for about three weeks or so,” Jeff Asbell said. “Hopefully, the autopsy will help tell us something.”

Since Tuesday morning, the fire district, in conjunction with several other agencies, searched for evidence that Asbell was in the water with divers, sonar, infrared camera-equipped helicopters and heavy vehicles that lowered the water level of the pond and other tools in an effort to determine if Asbell drowned in the pond before his body was finally discovered Thursday morning.

Churulo said no other items were found in the pond that would link to the accident, or to the cause. Swimming or boating is illegal in retention ponds, he added.

Dawn Domrose, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said she is unaware of any arrests in this case, or any indication of a potential criminal investigation.

Matthew Glowicki contributed to this report

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