Two weeks after he was last seen on the shores of Lake Michigan, the cousin of village Commissioner Mark Hosty was found dead June 29. The body of Robert E. Hosty Jr., 27, was found in Van Buren County, Michigan along the waterfront after having disappeared from a family-owned cottage early June 15.
Hosty Jr. was last seen outside of the Berrien County home at about 3 a.m. that day, but when family members woke he was gone. A pair of sandals on the beach was the only evidence that Hosty Jr. had been there, according to a report from the Berrien County Sheriff. The body was found at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday, roughly five to 10 miles from where he was last seen.
An autopsy has confirmed authorities’ suspicions that the man drowned, according to Sgt. Cathy Easton of the Berrien County Sheriff’s office.
“I believe he went for a swim,” Easton said. “What his motivations were, I don’t know.”
County officials are awaiting the results of a toxicology report to determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the death, but Easton said she does not suspect that will be the case. She said there is no indication that Hosty Jr. was suicidal.
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, July 3. It would have been Hosty Jr.’s 28th birthday.
The deceased is a second-cousin to the Forest Park commissioner. Mark Hosty said he last saw his cousin two days before his disappearance.
“It’s a sad outcome for something that just went bad,” Hosty said.
Hosty Jr. was a teacher’s aide at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago and a longtime resident of nearby River Forest. He comes from a large family, many of whom live in the area. During the search for Hosty Jr., several Web sites were dedicated to the effort. Since news of his death reached family members late Sunday night, mourners have begun posting condolences.
On the networking site Facebook.com, family members announced the grim news.
“We are deeply saddened to share with all of you that Robert Emmett Hosty Jr. passed away on Sunday, June 15,” a message from the Cullerton and Hosty families read. “Lake Michigan took his life and returned him to us on June 29.”
Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 3, and will be followed immediately by Mass at the St. Luke Catholic Church, 7600 W. Lake St. in River Forest. The family is requesting that memorial donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Robert Hosty Fund at Roberto Clemente High School, 1147 N. Western Ave. in Chicago.
Hosty Jr.’s ashes will be spread in Lake Michigan, according to a family member.