CHICAGO (STMW) – A Chicago man swept into Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor during the heart of the blizzard died from drowning — but also suffered a heart attack and cold exposure, a Thursday autopsy found.
Peter Davis’ death on Wednesday marks the 9th cold-related death in Cook County this season.
Police searched Lake Michigan for Davis for nearly five hours early Wednesday before spotting a hat near Diversey Harbor that led them to a body.
Police received a call about 11:45 p.m. reporting a person possibly fell into Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor, police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said.
The police Marine Unit did not have a specific location and searched the water until an officer spotted a hat floating near a dock about 4:30 a.m., Perez said. Divers then dove into the water and pulled out the man’s body.
Davis, 60, of 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, was dead on the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
An autopsy on Thursday found Davis died of drowning, but he also suffered from cold exposure and coronary atherosclerosis, the medical examiner’s office said. The manner of death was undetermined.
The circumstances of how the man wound up in the water was not known, police said. A Town Hall District police lieutenant said the man may have fallen into the water after becoming disoriented.
Davis’ death marks at least the ninth cold death in Cook County this season.
The last cold death was recorded Jan. 24 when 80-year-old John Pietraszek was found dead in his Southwest Side home after a neighbor called police saying he hadn’t seen him for nearly three weeks.
An autopsy found Pietraszek died of cold exposure and heart disease and his death was ruled an accident, the medical examiner’s office said.
Last winter season, 12 deaths in Cook County were attributed at least in part to cold.