Family members are remembering a 28-year-old man as a “caring person with a contagious smile” as they raise money for his funeral after he went missing in McHenry and was found dead.
Gustavo Guzman-Perez, 28, of McHenry, was found around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 2000 block of South Fernwood Lane in unincorporated McHenry.
McHenry Deputy Police Chief Thomas Walsh said a boater on the Fox River noticed a male subject in the water and called 911.
Fire department radio traffic indicated that the body was possibly washed up along the shore behind a residence.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and confirmed Guzman-Perez was deceased.
Officials said Guzman-Perez’s manner of death will be determined once toxicology results are received.
The police department asked the public for “restraint in jumping to conclusions based off internet rumors.”
“While we will continue to investigate the circumstances related to this matter, with the information developed in this extensive investigation we can assure the community there is no threat to the public,” the department said Friday.
Hebron resident Dana Perez said Guzman-Perez their family received the news that “no one wanted to hear” on Wednesday when they learned of the man’s death.
“Gustavo Ivan loved the outdoors and animals including horses and roosters. He was so close to many family members here as well as in Mexico. He was a caring person with a contagious smile. We are devastated with the loss of his young life and are hoping to give him a proper service,” Perez said.
The family said they are raising money to pay for funeral arrangements and have him sent back to Mexico for burial.
Almost $4,000 has been raised from over 75 donors so far in an online fundraiser.
Members of Guzman-Perez’s family reported him missing to the McHenry Police Department on April 22.
The police department said they had been actively searching for Guzman-Perez since that time.
Guzman-Perez was seen around 2 a.m. on April 22 in the 1200 block of North Green Street in McHenry, police initially said.
Police later said he was last seen around the same time near a residence in the 3000 block of West Virginia Avenue, which is approximately a mile southeast of the Green Street location.
The McHenry Police Department was assisted by the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency as part of large-scale searches for Guzman-Perez.
Multiple fire departments and trained search volunteers also assisted in searches.
Guzman-Perez had gone out with a friend on April 21, the day before he was reported missing, and then he was not seen again.
The residence in the 3000 block of West Virginia Avenue in McHenry where Guzman-Perez was last seen is where his friend resides, police said.
McHenry Deputy Police Chief Thomas Walsh said foul play is not suspected and there is no danger to the community.