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Divers Recover Body Of Michael Fernandez, Who Jumped Into Lincoln Park South Lagoon To Get Dog

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Divers early Sunday recovered the body of the 29-year-old man who jumped into the Lincoln Park South Lagoon to save his dog.

The divers spent hours over the course of two days trying to find the man in the murky water.

Police said around 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Michael Fernandez jumped into the South Lagoon, located along the eastern edge of the Lincoln Park Zoo, to rescue his dog, Sora, from the water.

The dog got out of the water successfully, but Fernandez never reemerged to the surface, authorities said.

The search resumed Sunday and divers located the body around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

CBS 2's Eric Cox talked with Fernandez's loved ones, who were seen comforting each other Sunday afternoon at the lagoon. They had been there the entire time divers were searching – waiting with heavy hearts to see Fernandez brought out of a lagoon the Fire Department said is about 18 feet deep in its center.

"He's a good kid," said the victim's uncle, Arthur Fernandez.

Michael Fernandez
Michael Fernandez was found dead in the Lincoln Park South Lagoon after he jumped in for his dog on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (Credit: CBS 2)

And he's a good kid gone too soon.

"The whole family's devastated," Arthur Fernandez said. "Makes you feel like you're in a dream."

Divers spent nearly two hours trying to find Michael Fernandez on Saturday, but they could not.

They searched for nearly five hours on Sunday before finding his body – as his heartbroken family watched from across the water.

Arthur Fernandez was upset to see no signs around the water's edge warning of the dangers that lie in the deep lagoon.

"There's no safety features at all," he said. "I don't know where the consideration is for the public that comes here to enjoy the park."

Plenty of people were enjoying the park on Sunday. Arthur Fernandez wants people to push for more safety measures near the murky water of the Lincoln Park South Lagoon, before another family feels the hurt that his has.

"The public has to stand up and see if they can get something done about it," Arthur Fernandez said.

As his family continues to grieve, Arthur Fernandez said he is considering taking legal action to see what can be done to improve safety around the lagoon.

Also Sunday only about two blocks away, two people were pulled from Lake Michigan near Fullerton Drive and one later died.

A 26-year-old man was taken to AMITA Health St. Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was identified as William Garcia-Ruiz of the Edgewater neighborhood, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

The other person, a 35-year-old man, refused medical attention.

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