The body of a Bronx, N.Y., man swept out into Lake Michigan after his raft
capsized on June 18 was recovered on Saturday, the Indiana Department of
Natural Resources said.
According to DNR, at 3 p.m. Paul Piotrowski was boating off Beverly Shores
when he found the body of Leonel Dominguez, 31, floating in the lake along
the eastern portion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chesterton Tribune late
on Saturday that cause of death has been listed as drowning. No autopsy will
be conducted, as the incident was witnessed by others, and Dominguez’s body
has been released to the family, Harris said.
At 3 p.m. on June 18, Dominguez and a companion, Evelyn Hernandez, were
rowing a small inflatable raft—reportedly purchased earlier that day for $20
at the Chesterton Kmart—approximately one-half mile east of the Lake View
Picnic Area in the National Lakeshore and a quarter-mile off shore. AT some
point they determined that they were too far out and attempted to paddle
back, but a south/southwest wind in excess of 30 miles per hour hindered
Dominguez then tried to swim to shore, pulling the raft behind him, but
quickly tired, and in his efforts to re-gain the raft caused it to capsize.
Hernandez was able to make it close enough to shore to be saved by a man on
the beach but Dominguez disappeared.
Neither was wearing a life jacket.
A massive search—including the use of surface craft, a helicopter, and
divers—was conducted until dark on Monday. Surface craft resumed the search
but without success on Tuesday and Wednesday.