Missing Lake View man found in Chicago River died from drowning, medical examiner can’t say whether death was an accident
Iñaki Bascaran left a River North bar on Halloween weekend but never returned home. ‘Iñaki would want his story to stay in people’s hearts and help them avoid irreversible tragedies,’ his father said Thursday.
Iñaki Bascaran, the Lake View man found in the Chicago River a week after leaving a River North bar last fall, died from drowning, the Cook County medical examiner’s office has ruled.
But investigators were unable to determine if his death was an accident. The manner of death was listed as “undetermined” by the office on Jan. 22.
Bascaran, 23, went missing Halloween weekend after leaving Celeste, a bar in the 100 block of West Hubbard Street. Bascaran had told his roommate over FaceTime that he was heading home but he never made it, according to his family.
Hundreds of volunteers searched for him for days. A candlelight vigil was held outside his Lake View apartment. A week later, Bascaran’s body was found in the river near the 1000 block of South Wells Street.
“We love our son tremendously,” his father Jose Bascaran said in a written statement Thursday. “I say it in the present tense because we still actively love Iñaki even though he’s gone.”
Bascaran said the family was grateful for the closure, even though the autopsy results couldn’t conclude the manner of death. They are “trying to find peace by focusing on keeping his memory alive,” his father said.
Bascaran’s family, who have roots in Spain and Mexico, are working to create a scholarship program in Iñaki’s memory for students to study abroad.
“Iñaki loved studying abroad in Vienna, exploring different cultures around the world, and connecting with people wherever he went,” his father said. “My son’s adventurous spirit will live on in helping others have these life-changing experiences he cherished.”
His family thanked everyone who helped search for Bascaran.
“There are no words to capture what the massive outpouring of love and support has meant to us during such a dark time, and that love and support will continue to help others in this scholarship program,” the father said.
He said he hopes his son’s “exuberant energy” lives on and reminds people to “stick together when going places.”
“This could have happened to anyone,” Bascaran said. “Iñaki would want his story to stay in people’s hearts and help them avoid irreversible tragedies. Please take care of each other in his memory.”