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Bodies Of Missing Men Keep Being Pulled From Chicago Waterways, Prompting Fears Of A Serial Killer

Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com, @PaulinaRoe/Twitter
Chicago River skyline with tweet from @PaulinaRoe sharing fears of a serial killer and murder headlines

It has all the makings of a scary future true-crime documentary.

All year long, dead bodies have been discovered in the Chicago River and the city's Lake Michigan shoreline and harbors.

And though evidence of foul play isn't readily apparent in all the cases, the similarities — all young men, all found in the city's waterways — have citizens wondering if the deaths are somehow connected.

With two more bodies found just this month, many Chicagoans can't help but think their city is being stalked by a serial killer.

Photo credit: @__________shell/Twitter

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The horrific discoveries have occurred throughout 2022 — and many of the cases are unsolved.

Two bodies have been pulled from Lake Michigan just in December 2022 alone.

Earlier this week, 25-year-old Peter Salvino's body was discovered by Chicago Police in Diversey Harbor, one of the many inlets from Lake Michigan on the city's North Side.

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Salvino, a doctoral student at Northwestern University, had gone missing the night of Saturday, December 17th while walking home from a party.

His discovery comes just two weeks after 21-year-old Polish man Krzysztof Szubert was found unresponsive at the city's Oak Street Beach two miles south just after he had left a Christmas party.

Authorities have yet to determine what happened to either man. 

Salvino and Szubert are just two of a disturbing pattern of mysterious deaths in Chicago this year.

Sadly, the list goes on and on.

In January 2022, 23-year-old Inaki Bascaran was found in the Chicago River after disappearing around Halloween.

In May, University of Illinois Chicago students Daniel Sotelo and Natally Brookson were both found just weeks apart in Lake Michigan.



Also in May, 31-year-old Eden De La O was retrieved from the river after disappearing from the city's Brighton Park neighborhood.

And in April, three bodies were recovered in just two days, two in the River and one in the Lake.

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Many, though not all, of the cases follow similar patterns, which has many fearing the possibility of a Chicago serial killer.

Nearly all of the bodies retrieved from Chicago's waterways are men, most of them in their 20s or early 30s.

And several of the victims were last seen at bars in the city's River North nightlife district, including Bascaran and Szubert.

None of the causes of these deaths have been solved as yet, but for many Chicagoans the patterns are too glaringly obvious, and they're convinced a serial killer is stalking the city.



One person tweeted, "the amount of men in their early-mid 20s that have gone missing this year is insane. Their bodies are then found in the lake hours later. Huge red flags."

Another put it a bit more plainly, writing, "there is a serial killer on the loose in Chicago killing men who visit river north bars and then dumping them in the Chicago river or lake Michigan."

Many are growing increasingly frustrated that the city's authorities and media seem reticent to address the obvious patterns. 

One Chicagoan tweeted, "they’re pulling 20-30 year old males out of the water in Chicago what seems to be every weekend. I feel like there’s a serial killer on the loose and there’s been little to no coverage on this."

Another echoed that sentiment, tweeting "are we just going to ignore the serial killer targeting men and disposing of their bodies in Lake Michigan/The Chicago River?"

Chicago has a history of serial killings.

Most notoriously those of John Wayne Gacy in the 1970s and another who was for a time believed to be linked to a string of Stockton, California murders.

But the city also had a string of some 50 unsolved stranglings in the 2000s many believed to have been perpetrated by a serial killer they call "The Chicago Strangler."

Chicago authorities have maintained there is little reason to suspect foul play in any of the recent deaths that are reviving serial killer rumors.

Still, it's impossible to ignore and not feel unnerved by the patterns.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.