33-year-old Nicholas Steward disappeared Friday night, as he was driving home from work about 30 miles outside Chicago. He was last seen driving a white 2008 Saturn Aura with Illinois license plates 563-7543.
According to reports, Nicholas called his wife to tell her that he was on his way to their Lake Villa home. His I-Pass recorded him going through a toll, traveling north on I-294 at about 5:30 PM.
At 10:28 PM, his cell phone pinged a tower in the area of the 2700 block of South River Road near Des Plaines, less than a mile away from the toll. Then the phone was turned off.
There’s a five hour gap from the time he was driving through the toll to the time when his phone last pinged.
This area is not too far from where I live. Last night, my curiosity got the best of me and I hopped on I-294 N to try and retrace Nicholas’ steps, and to look for his car. I know that there are a lot of small industrial buildings, as well as a large casino and some hotels in that area. I drove around and looked for his car in any of these parking lots, but didn’t come across anything.
Family members say he may have stopped at a gas station to buy cigarettes. There is a gas station right off the W. Touhy exit, but it’s small and his car wasn’t there.
What happened to Nicholas after he went through that toll?
I’m hoping it’s just a case of him needing some time away, and that he’ll contact his loved ones soon. His family is asking for help in keeping your eye out for either Nicholas or his car. Below is another picture of him, as well as a picture of his car. Both are from the Find Nick Steward Facebook Page, which you can access for any updates.
If you do come across Nicholas, his car, or his cell phone, please call the Lake Villa Police Department at 847-356-6106.
UPDATE: 9/25/13 10:43 PM
The Find Nick Steward Facebook Page is a great resource to follow for updates in this case. I’m pretty sure it’s a family friend of Nick’s who regularly updates and answers questions. Some clarifications made today:
- A search of parking lots has been conducted from O’Hare Airport north to the Wisconsin border (this includes forest preserves, hotels, stores, malls, etc)
- Lake Villa PD did a fly-over by airplane, trying to locate Nick’s car
- Police have checked all cameras in the area by where his cell phone last pinged (including the casino)
- His credit cards and I-Pass device have all been checked for activity
- Towing companies in the area have been contacted
- A search by Nick’s friends was conducted on Sunday
- The OnStar system in Nick’s car was never activated, and therefore cannot be tracked
- Nick’s car has some minor damage to the front bumper, and a fog light cover is also missing on one side
- There are two “Benelli” stickers on each side of his rear windshield
- Nick has no history of medical problems or health issues and has no history of disappearing
- Nick did not have any drug, alcohol or gambling problems
Nick’s wife also posted on the page, thanking everyone for their support and describing what a wonderful husband and father Nick is. She is doing everything she can to find her husband, and my heart absolutely breaks for her.
UPDATE: 9/27/13 8:50 AM
Thanks to the Find Nick Steward Facebook Page, we now know what Nick was wearing the night he disappeared. He was wearing a black MC Machinery shirt (pictured below), blue jeans, and red and gray Asics running shoes.
They also added that Nick is about 5’9″ and weighs 210 pounds.
UPDATE: 9/27/13 2:36 PM
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office issued a bulletin for Nicholas today, and some of the verbiage used is pretty interesting. It says, “depression, possibly suicidal.”
If this is true, this definitely doesn’t change the fact that Nick needs to be found, but it definitely makes a little bit more sense and may make it more logical that he left on his own.
Now the biggest concern is just finding him safe. Hopefully, he’s safe at a hotel somewhere, or is perhaps staying with friends. I’ll continue updating. Hopefully we can get some more clarification, which might lead to more clues of where to look.
You can view the bulletin HERE.
UPDATE: 9/27/13 4:41 PM
It appears as though the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has deleted the bulletin announcement from their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
UPDATE: 9/29/13 8:07 AM
Nick’s loved ones are conducting an organized search for him today and they’re asking for volunteers. If you live in the area, please consider helping.
The search will begin at noon in Lake Forest, IL. You can check out the details HERE.
UPDATE: 9/29/13 9:02 PM
There appears to have been an update to the timeline that was originally reported. According to new reports, Nick’s cell phone last pinged at about 5:30 PM, the same time he was passing through the toll. The original reports about the phone pinging at 10:28 PM may have been false.
If this is the case, this definitely widens the search considerably. He may have never exited on Touhy Road, instead, he may have continued on I-294. Did he get off on a different exit? Did he continue on past his home?
There are also new reports that while Nick was driving, he spoke with his employer and his parents on the phone, and sent a text message to his wife, all saying that he was on his way home. His wife told ABC News today that she has talked to Nick’s co-workers and they all said he had a completely normal day at work.
More than 150 people showed up at the search today, which is a pretty good turnout. It doesn’t look like anything was found, though. Hopefully, more searches will be planned (maybe extending a little more north?), and hopefully more news stations will pick up the story. The farther the word gets out, the better.
I’ll keep updating.