At first he thought it was a piece of trash floating less than 10 feet off the steps of the River Walk downtown.
Then he noticed the shape. And the hair.
“On second glance you could totally tell it was a person’s head,” said Mateo Olvera-Sandoval, 19, whose peaceful moment of sitting along the river’s edge before work was shattered about 8:45 a.m.
As another passerby called police to report a body floating face down in the river, foot traffic kept rolling along, he said.
“There were a lot of joggers; they didn’t really stop their runs,” Olvera-Sandoval said. “A few other people seemed confused on what to do, like their first instinct might have been to rescue the person, but upon closer inspection realized there was nothing to do.”
One man stopped and took a picture.
“And one lady noticed it and took it particularly hard. She sat down and looked deep in thought,” he said.
The body of a male was only about 20 feet from the river’s edge near the Clark Street Bridge.
The Chicago Police Marine Unit retrieved the body from the water.
An autopsy Wednesday did not rule on the cause and manner of the person’s death pending further investigation, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He remained unidentified.
“I was definitely shocked and intrigued, I guess, because I heard there was a ton of violence in the city over the weekend so I was wondering if it was connected to that,” Olvera-Sandoval said.
Contributing: Luke Wilusz