When Gene Nauert of Island Lake saw police and fire crews arrive Wednesday morning near his home along Parkview Drive, he initially thought it was a training exercise.
In actuality, sonar techs on police boats from Lake and McHenry counties were searching Slocum Lake in Wauconda Township as part of the investigation into 17-year-old Abe Gonzalez’s disappearance, Wauconda fire officials said.
Nauert said emergency responders – some of whom were from Buffalo Grove, Barrington and Wauconda – first arrived about 8 a.m.
Sgt. Chris Covelli, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, said detectives took over the investigation Tuesday and found that Slocum Lake – which is near the spot where Gonzalez last was seen – had not been checked for the missing teen.
“It’s certainly an area that needs to be searched,” Covelli said.
Wauconda Fire District Battalion Chief Adam Schlick said there is no credible evidence that Gonzalez was in or around the lake. Covelli said nothing of investigative value was discovered, either.
Island Lake police said Gonzalez walked out of his home Friday evening, telling his father he was going out to get some fresh air. Later that night, Gonzalez attended a party at a home in the 26000 block of Morey Street in unincorporated Lake County.
Covelli said witnesses at the event indicated that Gonzalez was “highly intoxicated.”
He then was seen walking away from that house by himself about midnight Saturday. Gonzalez’s father notified Island Lake police of his son’s disappearance at 6:35 p.m. Saturday after Gonzalez didn’t return home.
Covelli said K-9 units, auxiliary officers and detectives also searched the immediate vicinity where Gonzalez went missing Wednesday. Another foot search of the immediate area will resume Thursday, Covelli said.
Police and fire crews weren’t the only ones searching for Gonzalez on Wednesday. Community search parties also canvassed the area.
Amela Causevic of Island Lake and Ashley Knutson of Spring Grove joined a team searching in wooded areas along Darrell Road. Knutson said she isn’t always able to join search parties because of her own children, but found a babysitter so she could search for Gonzalez.
“Any help is better than none,” Knutson said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 847-377-4250.