I was in the newsroom Sunday when we heard over the police scanner that a river rescue was being requested at Prophetstown State Park.
I decided to see what was happening. When I got there, I was told that a man went missing while swimming. A Whiteside County sheriff's deputy pointed me to the victim's fellow swimmer.
I met Daniel, a 27-year-old from the economically struggling Chicago suburb of Cicero. He wouldn't give me his last name.
He was talkative, probably because he was upset. On Saturday, Javier, Daniel and another friend arrived at the park with a plan to fish over the weekend. They rode in Javier's car.
He told me he was swimming with his friend – actually he called him a good friend of a friend – when he found he couldn't withstand the undercurrent. He returned to shore.
He then learned his friend – later identified as Javier Tiscareno, 30, of Brookfield, a Chicago suburb – had gone down.
Daniel told me that Javier had "consumed alcohol" – Daniel's words. But he didn't say whether he had joined in the drinking. I suspected he had, because he smelled of alcohol.
Daniel hoped that his friend had made his way to shore downstream, but was struggling to find his way back on foot to the park. As the hours passed, though, that seemed less of a possibility.
Rescue crews on at least 10 boats searched the river Sunday night.
Later in the evening, I ran into Daniel again. He mocked my "little notebook" and questioned whether my phone was a Blackberry (It's not).
He also said I must make a lot of money. I responded that the reverse was true, as was the case with most journalists.
When he saw a photo of my girlfriend on my phone's wallpaper, he complimented her looks. Then he advised I have a baby with her, so she sticks around.
He also told me that people should stay active – play baseball, basketball, even golf – to make the most of every moment.
The next day, Daniel and the other friend left the area, I'm told. Javier's car stayed behind.
David Giuliani is a reporter for Sauk Valley Media. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.