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Body believed to be missing swimmer found on Highland Park beach

Several emergency vehicles line the street leading into the Openlands Beach where the body was found Saturday morning. | Photo by Max Weingardt.

The Elgin woman who went missing last weekend on Lake Michigan is believed to be the body found Saturday morning at Openlands Beach in Highland Park.

Lena Lemesh, 52, of Elgin, and Stanislaw Wlosek, Jr., 46, of Itasca, went missing on Lake Michigan after a polar-plunge type event last Sunday morning in Highland Park.

The Highland Park Fire Department along with the U.S. Coast Guard and numerous other fire departments responded shortly after 9 a.m. on November 4 to the North Shore Yacht Club, 21 Park Avenue in Highland Park.

Emergency crews were called for a report of multiple people in the water on Lake Michigan. Everyone was able to get out of the water except for Lemesh and Wlosek.

Numerous specialized fire and police units are seen near the North Shore Yacht Club in Highland Park on November 4 | Photo by Max Weingardt.

A Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) callout was issued to bring additional divers and boats to the scene from fire departments across the Cook County and Lake County area.

Divers were able to rescue Wlosek shortly after they arrived but Lemesh was swept out into Lake Michigan and divers were unable to locate her. A fire department diver suffered a shoulder injury during the rescue, authorities added.

Wlosek was pronounced dead at Highland Park Hospital. The Lake County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Wlosek died from drowning.

A rescue boat is seen on Lake Michigan searching for the missing woman on November 4 | Photo by Max Weingardt.

Emergency crews were called around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, almost a week after Lemesh went missing, to Openlands Lakeshore Beach in Fort Sheridan near Highland Park for a report of a body found along the beach. The body is believed to be Lemesh.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office said that they will confirm the body’s identity after an autopsy scheduled for Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard and city officials said last weekend that the group of swimmers were at the beach for an independent polar-plunge type event when the two went missing.

A Gale Warning had been in effect by the National Weather Service, warning about high winds in the area. Winds of up to 40 knots and waves up to 14 feet were possible, according to the National Weather Service.


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