Man Found Dead in Larsen Park Pond in Lake in the Hills Likely Suffered Cardiac Arrest Before Falling in Water

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Lake in the Hills police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 10:40 a.m. Tuesday August 8, 2017 Larsen Park, 1111 Pyott Road to a report of a man found face down in the pond at Larsen Park.

Lake in the Hills Police Department identified the man as Robert C. Van Ness Jr., 63d, and McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski announced that Robert C. Van Ness Jr likely suffered sudden cardiac arrest and fell into the water.

In a news release early Wednesday afternoon, Majewski announced that Robert C. Van Ness Jr. did not drown. Majewski said her preliminary findings were based on an autopsy conducted Wednesday morning that found that Van Ness Jr. had an enlarged heart that likely resulted in cardiac arrest that caused him to fall into the water.

The park is surrounded by thick woods west of Pyott Road, and the future of the park and property nearby has been a topic in Lake in the Hills local government this summer.

Village of Lake in the Hills leaders evicted boarders of the Silver Lining Equestrian center from the village-owned property at 1109 Pyott Road, south of the Larsen Park pond in June 2017. Business owner Tricia Sales was told to vacate the property after the village terminated her lease in February due to disputes over the past two years. Village of Lake in the Hills Administrator Jennifer Clough said the eviction was prompted by “continued noncompliance and unpaid rent obligations.”

Sales told the Daily Herald reporter Madhu Krishnamurthy in June that the Village of Lake in the Hills was landlord and didn’t take care of the little things. Sales said persistent roof leaks caused flooding of some of the 40 horse stalls, rendering them unusable. Sales said she also spent more than $100,000 on maintenance and upkeep of the property, while her business income came from teaching riding lessons. Tricia Sales has since moved to Florida to continue equestrian work.

The Village of Lake in the Hills purchased the 27-acre property for $2.6 million in a 2002 estate sale. The property includes Larsen Park and the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry. Officials had planned to keep the property running as a horse facility and leased out the stables to five separate tenants operating equestrian training and boarding facilities, as well as the nonprofit Mane in Heaven.

The park is named after the Larsen family name. Joan Larsen started the original Spring Hill Farm Riding School in 1964 on her family farm south of the pond.

The Village of Lake in the Hills has formed a committee to determine the fate of the property.

See also …

Daily Herald Lake in the Hills equestrian center evicted; future of stables uncertain

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