For Immediate Release
CHICAGO – Family and friends of Iñaki Bascaran are grieving his death after a six-day search resulted in the recovery of his body from the Chicago River on Friday, Nov. 5.
“Our hearts have shattered, and we’re still trying to comprehend that our Iñaki isn’t coming home in the way we all desperately hoped he would,” said Jose Bascaran, Iñaki’s father. “There are not enough words of gratitude to capture the appreciation we have for everyone who helped in the search for our son.”
Hundreds of volunteers in person across Chicagoland and more than 10,000 people across social media teamed up with the family, the Chicago Police Department and private detectives from Vantius in a marathon search for Iñaki after he went missing Saturday, Oct. 30. Divers found a body near the 1100 block of S. Wells Street, and the identity was confirmed late Friday evening.
While there are still many unknowns at this time, Iñaki’s family and friends said they know one thing for sure: they are forever grateful for the love and support from every single person who touched this case.
“To everyone who has watched, wished, prayed, and joined us in the grueling, frantic search, thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said family friend Renata Buenrostro.
Some who joined the hunt for Iñaki were complete strangers, and others were longtime friends, like Kayli Fradin, whose Instagram account @bringinakihome gathered nearly 9,500 followers to help find Iñaki.
“Iñaki’s smile and energy just lit up a room,” Fradin said. “He had a big heart, always made people laugh, and loved soccer, shows like The Office, and his dog, Max.”
Iñaki was at his Wrigleyville apartment with Kayli and his roommate watching scary movies for Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 30, before he left to meet another group of friends at Celeste, a bar in the River North neighborhood. Iñaki left the bar and 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.
Based on leads people shared and footage from The City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), it appears at this time that Iñaki tried to navigate the more than five miles to his Wrigleyville apartment on foot, alone, and without a clear sense of direction. He became lost near the river and never made it home.
“It could have happened to any of us,” Fradin said. “Most people have gone out to have some weekend fun and talk about whatever adventures happened with friends the next day. It’s just a nightmare that everything went so wrong for Iñaki that night.”
The relatability of this case has resonated with people around the world, from supporters in Australia to Iñaki’s family and lifelong friends in Chicago.
“Iñaki was such a kind person, and the love that so many people showed in the midst of this gut-wrenching search is a testament to how great of a person he was and how his memory will live on,” said family friend Leo Olper.
The search for Iñaki included Chicago Police marine units, K-9s that specialize in finding deceased individuals, drones, and a combination of public and private resources to pursue leads sent from thousands of people.
“Among the thousands of cases this firm has investigated over the last 20 years, this one stands out as having one of the most committed groups of family and friends, along with a prolific team of volunteers who were remarkably generous with their time and tips,” said Sergio Serritella, private detective and founder of Vantius.
Services for Iñaki will be Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview. The visitation will start at 3 p.m., with a mass beginning at 7 p.m. A livestream of the mass is available here.