LAKE COUNTY (February 16, 2022) — The preliminary cause of death in the case of missing person Thomas Howe was released Wednesday, February 16, 2022 as drowning, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.
The Antioch Police Department announced about 5:55 p.m. Tuesday, February 15, 2022, that shortly before 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, the body of 24-year-old Thomas “Tommy” Howe was recovered from the Des Plaines River near Libertyville.
Last Friday, an alert kayaker in the Des Plaines River saw a jacket along the shoreline that matched the description of the jacket Howe was last seen wearing. The kayaker then called police. From the tip, search teams consisting of multiple area police K9 units and fire department dive teams conducted initial searches of the river on Friday evening and Saturday. Due to unfavorable river conditions, the divers were not able to resume their work until this afternoon, when the body was discovered.
Based on the circumstances and evidence found at the scene, the body has been preliminarily identified as Howe.
Antioch police announced that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Coroner’s Office will conduct the investigation surrounding Howe’s death.
Antioch Police Chief Geoffrey Guttschow asks that the media respect the privacy of the Howe family as they cope with the loss of their son and brother. “We have been with the Howe family throughout their search for Tommy,” said Guttschow. “This is a devastating time for them. The family will continue to be in our prayers.”
Guttschow is also appreciative of the support received from numerous partner police and fire agencies, volunteers, and the media during the search for Howe.
Antioch Police in a press conference provided updated information regarding the search for missing Antioch resident 24-Year-Old Tommy Howe YouTube Tips ⓘ
During a press conference at Antioch Village Hall on Friday morning, February 11, 2022, the parents of Thomas Howe announced a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the location of their son. Thomas Howe, age 24, was reported missing after a crash in Libertyville in January 2022.
There was no indication of traumatic injuries in Howe’s vehicle following his crash just before 11:00 a.m. on January 22, 2022 on Interstate 94 near Route 176 in Libertyville, according to Antioch Police Commander Charles Smith.
Police have been searching with aircraft and drones, and have investigated over 200 leads.
Family spokesman Matthew DeMartini, who spoke during the press conference thanked all who have helped with the search, including police and fire personnel.
“There are no red flags in Tommy’s life. There is nothing in his past or present which gives us any clue as to why he walked away from that accident.”
— Matthew DeMartini, family spokesman
Thomas Howe was traveling on Interstate 94 WEST in one of two center lanes near the 16.75 Mile Marker when he veered right and struck a guardrail on the shoulder. His vehicle bounced back toward the center lanes, struck a vehicle. He and the driver of the other vehicle came to a stop in the center median, but Howe immediately left the crash scene and walked toward the Old School Forest Preserve, west of I-94, near Libertyville.
Two days later, on January 24, 2022, Howe’s work cell phone was located in the the Old School Forest Preserve. There have been no other signs of Thomas Howe since the cell phone was discovered.
Thomas Howe or “Tommy” Howe was last seen wearing a gray NorthFace jacket, dark pants, and black, white-laced Vans.
He is described a male/white 5’8″ medium build with brown eyes and brown hair.
Anyone who thinks they may have seen Thomas Howe is urged to call the CenCom Dispatch Center at 847-270-9111 or call 9-1-1.
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Highlighted locations and open spaces near the crash scene are …
Old School Forest Preserve
Green Oaks Senior Living
Rocco Fiore & Sons
Lake Forest Oasis
Lake Forest Public Works facility
Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve
Lake Forest Academy