By Bob Uphues
If you've wondered why Cook County Sheriff's Police officers are stationed along the bridges spanning the Des Plaines River at Cermak Road, 26th Street and 31st Street for the past couple of days, they are part of an effort to recover the body of a Villa Park teenager who jumped into the river from a railroad bridge in Thatcher Woods near North Avenue in Melrose Park on May 13.
On May 16, the Cook County Sheriff announced that it had taken the lead for the search and posted officers at bridges south of where the incident occurred, since that is the direction of the river's current.
The search, according to a press release from the sheriff's office has included sonar boats, helicopters, search dogs and people searching along the river bank. The search will continue, the sheriff's office indicated, until the teenager, who has been identified as 16-year-old Cameron Sanders, has been found.
Riverside Fire Chief Matthew Buckley said fire personnel in North Riverside and Riverside are standing by "in case there's a sighting or if we need to do a recovery within our jurisdiction."
Buckley said he and North Riverside Fire Chief Brian Basek have been in contact with the Cook County Sheriff and the Canadian National Railroad, which owns the bridge where the teen leapt into the river.
Meanwhile, the Cook County Sheriff has demanded that the railroad take immediate steps to secure the bridge, commonly referred to as the "Rainbow Bridge," which is in an unmarked location and unsecured by any fencing.