PROPHETSTOWN – Prophetstown State Park was familiar territory for Javier Tiscareno, who visited there growing up.
On Saturday, Tiscareno, 30, of Brookfield, a Chicago suburb, took a couple of his friends to the park, setting up a tent near the Rock River. They went fishing, and late Sunday afternoon, Tiscareno and one of his friends decided to go swimming.
They were in the water for less than a half-hour. The current was too strong for his friend, Daniel, who went ashore.
Tiscareno seemed fine, according to reports, even talking to campers along the shore. But then he went missing. One of his friends called 911.
By about 6:30 p.m., at least 10 crews from various agencies joined the search, but there were no signs of Tiscareno.
They resumed the search Monday, but by that time, fewer fire departments took part – Prophetstown, Lyndon, Erie and Fulton, and the state Department of Natural Resources, which runs the park.
They searched the waters near the park, but Prophetstown Chief Keith Crady, who is overseeing the effort, said they would go farther downstream today.
In his experience, he said, a body will go down as much as 4 or 5 miles downriver, but it would be a couple of days before that happens.
Dick Bradley, campground host for the last 20 years, said he knew Tiscareno's father, a frequent visitor over the years. Tiscareno's sister came to the park Monday.
"She recognized me. They have been coming here since they were kids," said Bradley, who is in his 80s.
Bradley said he believes someone in town put Tiscareno's friends up in a motel room. The pair are believed to have left the area Monday.
Bradley said the three came in Tiscareno's car.
He said he didn't know Tiscareno and a friend had gone swimming, which is banned at the park.
"I tell people they can't swim in the river, but they don't listen," Bradley said.
Daniel, a 27-year-old Cicero resident who declined to reveal his last name, said Sunday that Tiscareno had been drinking before going swimming.
Bradley said he wasn't aware of any drownings at Prophetstown State Park in all his years there. Other officials have said the same thing.