Young drowning victim identified as Elgin boy
By Erika WURST firstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2012 12:58PM
A sign at the entrance of Jericho Lake warns vistiors that swimming is not allowed. A 10-year-old Elgin boy drowned at the lake on Sunday, May27, 2012. | Erika Wurst~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:10AM
The Kane County coroner’s office Wednesday identified the young boy who drowned in Jericho Lake in Montgomery as Jesus Gonzalez, 10, of Elgin.
On Sunday, Gonzalez was with enjoying the holiday weekend with his family at the park along Jericho Road on the west side of Montgomery. He was swimming in the park’s lake with siblings when he went under, police said.
Rescue divers arrived at about 6 p.m. and found the boy submerged in about 12 feet of water, authorities said. He was pronounced dead in the emergency room of Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora at 7:32 p.m.
An autopsy on Tuesday indicated the preliminary cause of death is drowning, the coroner’s office said. Toxicology samples have been sent to a forensic laboratory.
Jericho Lake is a 20-acre fishing and boating lake within Jericho Lake Park. Swimming is prohibited and warning signs are posted, park officials said.
But those who visit the lake frequently said there is only one sign warning swimmers to keep away.
“That’s the only one,” Aurora resident Alan Turnbow said Wednesday, pointing to a green “lake rules” sign posted near a boat dock.
An avid fisherman, Turnbow said he has been around Jericho Lake many times. It’s not uncommon to see teenagers swimming in the lake on warm summer days, he said.
“They’ll jump off the dock and swim around,” he said, and according to witnesses, that’s what the boy and his siblings were doing on Sunday.
Scott Kreyer said he and a friend were at the lake around 4 p.m. Sunday and saw about four or five children swimming.
“We were actually talking about how inviting the water looked,” he said, adding that they saw no posted signs cautioning them otherwise.
“We walked around half the lake (and didn’t see a sign) so we figured that it must be allowed,” he said.
On their way home, he said, they saw “a small sign by the docks ... but that was the only one.”
Fox Valley Park District spokesman Jeff Long said that the sign is “prominently displayed” and that Park District ponds are not designed or intended for swimming.