Body pulled from Lake Michigan in Wilmette identified as missing UIC grad student

Daniel Sotelo, 26, had last been seen on April 29 in the 1700 block of South Racine Avenue in Pilsen. His body was discovered May 22.

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Daniel Sotelo

On Saturday, the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified Daniel Sotelo, 26, as the person whose body was discovered May 22 at 10 Harbor Drive in Wilmette.

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The body of a University of Illinois Chicago graduate student who was reported missing from Pilsen in late April was pulled from Lake Michigan in suburban Wilmette last week, authorities said.

Daniel Sotelo had last been seen on April 29 in the 1700 block of South Racine Avenue, according to a missing person alert sent by Chicago police.

On Saturday, the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified Sotelo as the person whose body was discovered May 22 at 10 Harbor Drive in Wilmette, where a U.S. Coast Guard station is located. Kyle Murphy, chief of police in the North Shore suburb, said a boater initially found his body about a mile from the shoreline that afternoon.

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Sotelo was identified using dental records, according to Murphy. An autopsy determining the cause and manner of his death is pending, the medical examiner’s office said.

A GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $4,000 to cover his memorial and funeral costs notes that Sotelo was expected to graduate from UIC this month with a master’s degree in organic chemistry.

“Danny was an absolute light for us all,” his sister, Jennifer Sotelo, said in a statement included on the page. “Losing him is like losing the color from our world. As heartbroken as we are, we are so grateful for the light that he provided us for the past 26 years. We hope and pray that his soul rests in peace.”

The crowdfunding campaign adds that Sotelo was a first-generation immigrant whose parents came from Mexico “to provide their children with opportunities that they never had.”

In addition to Jennifer Sotelo, he’s survived by his parents, a brother and two other sisters.

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