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Missing suburban Chicago father's body found in river after nearly weeklong search

Missing suburban Chicago man's body found in river after nearly weeklong search
Missing suburban Chicago man's body found in river after nearly weeklong search 02:11

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – A 37-year-old man who had been missing for nearly a week in southwest suburban Joliet was found dead Friday morning in the Des Plaines River.

The Will County Coroner's Office identified the body found by the Joliet Fire Department in the river as 37-year-old Robert Long, Joliet police said.

Long's family reported him missing to police on April 13. The father of seven had last been seen in the 300 block of North Bluff Street, where he lives, two days earlier on April 11, near the Riverwalk Homes, an affordable housing development near the Des Plaines River.

Police began investigating his disappearance and canvassed the housing complex and immediate area on April 17, but the search and interviews with family and friends "produced little to no new information in the case." Members of the Joliet Fire Department also searched the river using sonar equipment and were unable to find Long.

Joliet police said they were in frequent contact with Long's family.

"Not only were our detectives working very hard on this case, but this is a very close-knit family, that we've learned, and they have been very instrumental in searching for their loved one as well," said Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English.

Family of missing Joliet, Illinois man devastated after he's found dead in river 02:03

Then, at around 10 am. on Friday, Joliet police investigators and fire personnel joined Long's family to search the area surrounding the 33 block of North Bluff Street and the adjacent part of the Des Plaines River. The fire department used a boat on the river and a drone for the search.

At 10:47 a.m., the fire department found a male body in the river on the south side of the McDonough Street bridge on the east side of the river, close to about a mile-and-a-half south of where Long was last seen.

The male body was brought ashore and was identified as Long.

"This is hard man. This is hard. That's my only boy," said Jewell Robinson, Long's mother. "I want to thank everyone that came out and helped me search today."

Robinson added that her son was "very loved. Everybody loved him. He don't bother nobody. He was a man of consistency."

The coroner's office will conduct an autopsy on Saturday. The case remains under investigation.

English didn't speculate how Long could have ended up in the river, but he said there was no evidence of foul play. Police said they did acquire surveillance footage from a convenience store about two blocks east of the river, but were in the process of trying to identify more footage in hopes of learning more about Long's whereabouts when he went missing.

English also said that Long had left his cellphone in his apartment before he went missing.

Anyone with information or video footage related to the case is asked to call the Joliet Police Investigation Division at 815-724-3020. They can also call Will County Crime Stoppers at 800-323-734 or online at if they wish to remain anonymous.

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