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Body pulled from Fox River in Elgin identified as missing homeless man

Elgpolice investigate scene Tuesday where known homeless man was pulled from Fox River near GrVictoriCasino.  October 9 2012 |

Elgin police investigate the scene Tuesday, where a known homeless man was pulled from the Fox River near the Grand Victoria Casino. October 9, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:19AM

ELGIN — The body of a 52-year-old homeless man was pulled from the Fox River at Festival Park downtown Tuesday morning.

The victim was identified as Roberto C. Hernandez by a family member on scene. Hernandez has lived in Elgin but was currently homeless. His daughter had reported him missing to the Elgin Police Department on Monday.

Elgin police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said police and fire department divers were called to the scene at 11:20 a.m. after a fisherman called 911.

“A fisherman was fishing off of an outcropping on Festival Park and identified a body — literally fished a body out of the water,” the commander said.

Divers and a boat arrived by 11:46 a.m.

“The fire department came out here and did identify a body in the water. That body was pulled from the water,” Theriault said.

The body was a few feet from shore, he added.

Police were investigating, but the death does not appear suspicious, Theriault said. “There are no clear signs of trauma,” he added.

Officials from the Kane County Coroner’s Office arrived and removed the body for autopsy at about 12:35 p.m.

While foul play was not suspected, one formerly homeless area resident said it is not unusual for the homeless to argue as they stake their claims to spots along the river.

“At the end of the season, the homeless all fight for their place,” said a 56-year-old Elgin who asked that his name not be used. He said he’d been homeless in Elgin for 10 years but got a job and moved in with his sister about three years ago.

Neither is it unusual for someone to have fallen into the water, he said.

“A lot of homeless sit down here, drink beer and pass out,” he added.

The Elgin Police Department Investigations Division and the coroner’s office were conducting the investigation of the incident. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call police at 847-289-2700.

The last reported drowning in the Fox River in Elgin occurred July 4, 2004. A 23-year-old Elgin man got caught in swift currents and drowned while swimming with friends along the west bank of the river near a secluded area south of the Route 20 bypass.

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