Coast Guard finds woman's body

June 5, 2008 2:37:53 PM PDT
The body of a woman kayaking on Lake Michigan was pulled from the water Thursday morning, one day after she was reported missing. The Prospect Heights woman was an experienced boater. She kayaked almost every day. Her body was recovered this morning near Lake Bluff. U.S. coast guards in Wilmette assisted with the search.

The kayaker has been identified as Connie Alton from Prospect Heights. Sources tell ABC7 she is a breast cancer survivor who retired from the Army about 10 years ago. She kayaked in Lake Michigan regularly.

Fifty-two-year-old Alton was last seen Wednesday afternoon around 3 p.m. when she left to go kayaking at the Great Lake C.B. Park, part of the Great Lakes Naval Base near Lake Bluff.

When Alton didn't home Wednesday night, a family member notified police and a search effort began, led by the U.S. Coast guard. A helicopter and two Coast Guard boats were dispatched along with 13 officers. At 5:30 Thursday morning, they found what they were looking for.

"The kayak was discovered about a mile south of Great Lakes. And, about a mile south of that location, the victim was recovered," said Anthony Griffith, U.S. Coast Guard.

The victim was an avid kayaker. Her life vest was also recovered near her body. Rescue officers turned her body over to the Lake County coroner's office.

With summer well under way, Coast Guard officers are reminding boaters to always wear a life vest, to never boat alone and to always file a so-called "float plan."

"A plan lets other people know when you plan on going, when you plan on leaving, when you should be back. If something does happen to you there's somebody to report so the Coast Guard can take a looks," said Petty Officer Griffith.

The sheriff's department is handling this investigation, along with the coroner's office. The coroner completed an autopsy Thursday afternoon that indicates this was an accidental drowning.


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