Volunteer Fire Department Dive Rescue Team on Sunday recovered the body of a
20 year-old Illinois woman who went missing in Lake Michigan on Friday
evening while swimming at Porter Beach, Indiana Department of Natural
Resources Law Enforcement said.
The DNR said the
woman was identified as Chase Froese of Carol Stream, Ill.
According to the
DNR, some time after 7 p.m. Friday Indiana Conservation officers and other
emergency personnel responded to Porter Beach to assist three female
swimmers who were struggling in the water.
Fire Chief Jay Craig told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that
when his team arrived one of the swimmers was already safely on the beach
and one bystander on a kickboard was able to reach a second swimmer and
bring her to shore.
however lost sight of the third swimmer between Porter Beach and the Indiana
Dunes State Park, Craig said, and the water was too turbulent for dive teams
to continue the search Friday.
Craig said the
weather was fair that evening but winds were strong on the lake. He said
there was “a good solid rip current.”
“It was rough. The
waves changed constantly. I’ve been in the water many times and this was the
worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Craig.
Responding to the
initial call besides PFD and DNR Conservation Officers were the Coast Guard,
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore rangers, Chesterton Fire, Burns Harbor Fire
and Portage Fire.
The search for
Froese continued early Saturday when water conditions improved and the DNR
deployed underwater robots with sonar and video capabilities while the Coast
Guard searched the surface by helicopter. Once lake conditions became
hazardous for the robots, DNR Conservation Officers, the Coast Guard, the
Indiana State Police, and Porter Fire Dive Rescue continued the search
underwater, Craig said.
On Sunday, Craig
said he asked the Lake County Sheriff’s Department if they would be willing
to do a helicopter search. The LCSP said they would as they would be flying
the helicopter to an event later in Portage.
On the fourth pass,
at about 11:56 a.m. Sunday, the LCSP spotted a body floating on the lake
surface about 200 yards east of where Froese was last seen, approximately
250 yards directly north of the Indiana Dunes Park Pavilion, Craig said.
The Porter Fire
Dive Rescue Team recovered and carried the body to a more secluded beach
area near Dune Acres, Craig said, where Froese’s family were able to
positively identify her for the Porter County Coroner. The Coroner’s office
has since taken custody of Froese’s body to administer a routine toxicology
The DNR said the
cause and manner of Froese’s death is believed to be accidental drowning.
Indiana Conservation Officers and the National Lakeshore Park Rangers are
conducting the investigation.