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Body found at beach in Highland Park where swimmer went missing

A group of "cold-weather" swimmers enters the water near Highland Park on Nov. 4. | Provided/Timothy Hammond

The body of a woman was recovered on a Lake Michigan beach Saturday in Highland Park, nearly a week after a man died and woman from Elgin went missing while swimming in hazardous waters.

Authorities have not confirmed if the recovered body was that of 52-year-old Lena Lemesh, who was swept away by strong waves as she swam with a “cold-weather” swimming group Nov. 4 in the northern suburb.

The identity the body would be released Tuesday morning after an autopsy was performed, according to Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper.

Lemesh was swimming that morning with a group of people and 46-year-old Stanislaw Wlosek Jr. in 12-foot waves and heavy winds near the North Shore Yacht Club at 21 Park Ave., according to Highland Park Fire Chief Larry Amidei, the U.S. Coast Guard and the coroner.

The swimmers entered the lake from a boat launch area at Park Avenue Beach and “encountered difficulty due to lake conditions,” officials said.

Rescue workers found Wlosek unconscious and pulled him back to shore, authorities said. He was given CPR and rushed to Highland Park Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He lived in northwest suburban Itasca.

The search for Lemesh continued the next morning with police and fire personnel checking the shoreline on foot in addition to boats from Highland Park, the U.S. Coast Guard and multiple fire agencies, according to a statement from the city of Highland Park.

A Chicago police helicopter and pilots from a not-for-profit group called Pilots for Hope were also assisted with the aerial search.

First responders gather at the scene where a woman went missing in Lake Michigan near Highland Park, IL on November 4, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times