The 3 men killed in an explosion near Starved Rock are ID’d as relatives from Chicago

The men were found around 7 p.m. May 6 after an explosion about 100 yards west of Route 178 bridge in Utica, authorities said.

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Starved Rock State Park’s southern entrance. | Photo from Starved Rock State Park’s online gallery.

Photo from Starved Rock State Park’s online gallery.

The three men who died after apparently igniting an explosive powder near Starved Rock State Park were relatives from Chicago, the coroner’s office said Monday.

They have been identified as Immer Rivera Tejada, 39, Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26 and Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, according to LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch. He said the men were related but couldn’t provide specifics.

He said autopsy results were likely at least a few weeks from being released as investigators continue to investigate what caused the explosion along the Illinois River near the state park, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago.

The men were found around 7 p.m. last Thursday about 100 yards west of the Route 178 bridge in Utica, authorities said.

Investigators have determined the men had apparently been fishing before igniting black powder, Ploch told the Chicago Sun-Times last week.

No foul play was suspected, he said, adding that the men were likely trying to light a fire to cook food that was found nearby.

Illinois State Police said the investigation was ongoing.

Contributing: David Struett, Associated Press

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