A teenage girl, who left her Riverside home last night and left a note that alarmed her parents, was located by a police helicopter about 11:45 p.m. on Monday in a wooded area in Swan Pond Park after a three-hour search that involved multiple police agencies and a bloodhound unit from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the girl was taken to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment for exposure to the cold, but that she was otherwise unharmed.
The girl’s parents called police around 8:30 p.m. on Monday to report that their daughter had left home, despondent and not dressed properly for the cold weather. She was last seen traveling on foot south from the 100 block of Kimbark Road.
Riverside police searched south from that area, yard by yard and garage by garage, said Weitzel. After about an hour, Riverside called the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, who brought in a bloodhound unit to search the area.
By 10 p.m., Riverside had requested the help of a helicopter jointly owned by Chicago and Cook County police. The copter made two separate flights in the area, shining a spotlight into the forest preserve area near the Des Plaines River.
Meanwhile, Riverside sent out a mutual aid message to area police departments and enlisted the assistance of the Riverside Fire Department in the search. Personnel did a grid search south from the area where the girl was last seen.
At about 11:45 p.m. during his second run in the air, the pilot of the police helicopter directed officers to an area near the river in Swan Pond Park, saying he had located a body there.
Police reported the girl was sleeping at that location. Weitzel said she was lethargic but was conscious and responsive to a Lyons police officer who arrived at that location first.
“She was sleeping in a brush area near the river,” said Weitzel. “She was freezing.”
Weitzel said the girl did not have a history of running away and, based on what her parents told them, police used every resource available to find her.
“This wasn’t your standard missing persons case,” said Weitzel.