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Cook Sheriff investigating homicide in River Forest forest preserve

Thursday, June 02, 2016
Chicago Tribune
by Steve Schering, Pioneer Press

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting death of a 19-year-old man whose body was found May 30 in a River Forest forest preserve.

According to Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sophia Ansari, the teen's body was discovered Memorial Day afternoon by two hikers in the Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve near Thatcher Avenue and Division Street.

The hikers located two bags along the trail, one of which contained the teen's body, Ansari said. The second bag contained clothing.

"It is an active and ongoing investigation," Ansari said. "Two people were walking on a trail and found two bags. One of the bags did contain a human body. The body did have an advanced state of decomposition."

After the discovery, the hikers alerted the forest preserve police, who then contacted the Cook County Sheriff's Office around 2 p.m. The Sheriff's Office immediately launched a death investigation, Ansari said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office pronounced the man dead at 4:15 p.m., and later identified the teen as Fernando Casas of the 1800 block of North 39th Avenue in Stone Park.

"The cause of death is a gunshot wound to the abdomen," medical examiner spokesperson Becky Schlikerman said. "The manner of death is a homicide."

A message left for the Stone Park Police Department was not immediately returned.

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