UPDATE: Cause of Death for Missing Canoeist Pending Further Tests

By: Shannon Smith; Jorge Rodas
By: Shannon Smith; Jorge Rodas
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UPDATE: The Winnebago County Coroner says more tests need to be done in order to find out what killed the missing canoeist whose body was pulled from the Rock River Tuesday afternoon.

After an autopsy, the Winnebago County Coroner says she can't rule what killed 21-year-old Roger Pitts Jr. until more tests are complete.


WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – The Winnebago County Coroner has says the body pulled from the Rock River this afternoon is that of 21 year old Roger Pitts Jr.

The family of Roger Pitts Jr. has been on the Rock River in boats searching for their missing family members since this weekend.

Today, one of their groups found a body near Blackhawk Island.

One of the 21-year-old’s family members was on that boat that found the body and he says he’s certain the body found is that of Roger Pitts.

Family, friends, and neighbors were on the river searching all day on their boats when they were flagged down by construction workers ho saw a body.

Rescuers pulled the body out of the water before 5pm Tuesday but not before driving up river near S. Main and Algonquin Blvd. so they wouldn't pull the body on shore in front of family.

Family and friends say they've been looking for Pitts Jr. with their own boats since the weekend.

“We’re here, we ain't leaving ‘til we find him.”

Adele Kreyer has been searching the Rock River every day for her nephew Roger Allen Pitts Jr.

“The last thing he texted us was 'I love you guys'," said Pitts' girlfriend Sara king as she broke down into tears.

Family and friends used their own boats along with Blackhawk Fire Department, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Winnebago County Sheriff Ppolice looking for the 21-year-old who has been missing since Saturday night. Police say he was canoeing with a cousin when the boat flipped over.

“Someone had contact with him at 9:30. He said he was going to bring the canoe in ad that was the last we heard except the fact that the other person got out and he didn't,” said sister Tyneisha Clegg.

Now relatives say there’s more unanswered questions.

“It’s very frustrating because we feel helpless. There’s nothing. I mean it’s a river we can’t go swim the river. We don’t have enough boats to get out there and we just want to find him.”

Investigators say they did a toxicology report on the other canoeist. DNR warns people that if we’re going to be out on the water, don’t go after dark, watch for debris, and always wear a life jacket.


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