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Medical Examiner Determines Drowning as Cause of Iñaki Bascaran’s Death Circumstances Remain Unknown

Iñaki Bascaran

Inaki Bascaran


Media Contact

Sara Serritella

Medical Examiner Determines Drowning as Cause of Iñaki Bascaran’s Death

Circumstances Remain Unknown

CHICAGO – The family of a 23-year-old man whose body was recovered from the Chicago River in November has received news that the cause of their son’s death was drowning.

Iñaki Bascaran went missing after meeting friends at a bar in the River North neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 30. He FaceTimed a roommate just after midnight that he was heading home. His cell phone battery died, and with it his access to rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. After a six-day search from officials and hundreds of volunteers in person, along with more than 10,000 people across social media, divers found his body on Nov. 5 near the 1100 block of S. Wells St. The Cook County Medical Examiner has ruled drowning as the cause of death. The manner of death was unable to be determined.

“We love our son tremendously,” said Jose Bascaran, Iñaki’s father. “I say it in the present tense because we still actively love Iñaki even though he’s gone. We’re grateful to the medical examiner and feel a sense of closure now even without knowing the manner of death because the answer to that question can’t bring our son back, so we’re trying to find peace by focusing on keeping his memory alive.”

Iñaki’s family is working to create a scholarship program in Iñaki’s memory for students who want to experience study abroad.

“Iñaki loved studying abroad in Vienna, exploring different cultures around the world, and connecting with people wherever he went,” said Bascaran, whose family has roots in Spain and Mexico. “My son’s adventurous spirit will live on in helping others have these life-changing experiences he cherished.”

More than 2,600 people from around the world donated money to help find Iñaki when he went missing, and Bascaran said donations from that GoFundMe page will fuel the scholarship program.

“We’ll be forever grateful to everyone who helped find Iñaki,” Bascaran said. “There are no words to capture what the massive outpouring of love and support has meant to us during such a dark time, and that love and support will continue to help others in this scholarship program.”

Iñaki’s family said they hope their son’s exuberant energy and his commitment to making people smile lives on, as well as a reminder for people to stick together when going places.

“This could have happened to anyone,” Bascaran said. “Iñaki would want his story to stay in people’s hearts and help them avoid irreversible tragedies. Please take care of each other in his memory.”

A celebration of Iñaki’s life took place Nov. 10 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview, Illinois. Services were livestreamed for those who could not attend in person. More than 10,000 people joined the memorial services between the church and online viewing from around the world. Watch an overview of the memorial here.