Family, friends to search Lemont forest for missing man

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Steven Haas of Aurora was reported missing Wednesday in Aurora. | Photo provided

Family and friends of an Aurora man who went missing Wednesday will conduct an expanded search of the DuPage County Forest Preserve this weekend in southwest suburban Lemont.

Steven Haas, 53, of the 400 block of Regency Court in Aurora, went missing Wednesday when he left his home between 12:45 and 1:35 p.m., according to the Aurora Police Department. Haas was believed to be armed with a handgun and intended to harm himself.

His vehicle was found later on Wednesday in a parking lot of the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Lemont, police said. A search for Haas by authorities began that night and continued through Friday morning when it was suspended and the forest preserve re-opened.

Family and friends believe Haas to be dead, but hope to find him with a renewed search, his sister, Bev Sklar, said Friday.

“The signs are pretty clear,” Sklar said. “We feel he is deceased and in the preserve somewhere. We just want to find him and bring him home.”

Those close to Haas were organizing a new search with volunteers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and meeting at the Waterfall Glen Trailhead parking lot on Northgate Road off Cass Avenue, Sklar said. Volunteers were told to bring water and to wear long pants, long sleeves and sturdy shoes.

“Whether you can join us in the search for 30 minutes or several hours, we appreciate your helping finding Steve,” supporters said in an email.

The 2,500-acre preserve was searched with dogs and volunteers from the Illinois Search and Rescue Council, Sklar said. She said she hoped to re-cover the ground of authorities and also expand the search under their guidance.

“The authorities have done quite a bit,” Sklar said. “But it’s a very large preserve. We’ll take any help we can get.”

Haas grew up in Hinsdale and is a longtime Aurora resident, she said. He is married with two adult children.

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