DECATUR — Investigators closed Fairview Park to traffic and were seen taking a body bag from Dreamland Lake on Thursday, as family members of missing teen Dominic Walker waited nearby.
Authorities said they would not discuss what was inside the body bag. Decatur police Sgt. David Pruitt said all information would be released through the coroner’s office and that a statement was not likely until Friday. Pruitt, head of juvenile investigations, declined to answer questions about why police were called to the area and what they found.
Dominic, a 16-year-old from Mattoon who police said was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, was last seen in Decatur early Saturday.
On Thursday, Macon County Chief Deputy Coroner Dee Coventry was seen speaking to Dominic’s family members who gathered at the park, but she would not talk to reporters. A message left for Dominic’s father, Adam Walker, was not immediately returned Thursday night.
Police arrived before 5:30 p.m. at the pond, which measures about 1.2 acres and is a maximum of 6 feet deep, according to a state Department of Natural Resources database. Investigators, including one in a dive suit, placed an object in a body bag while in the water. The bag was removed on from the pond and put on a gurney at about 6:30 p.m. A scooter also was removed from the area.
Decatur Park Police, Millikin University Police and Decatur Fire Department units were all at the park on Decatur's west side, as well as the Decatur Police Department’s crime-scene investigation van.
Police first announced they were searching for Dominic on Sunday morning. They said he was last seen between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Saturday at his father’s house at 1035 W. King St.
Adam Walker previously told the Herald & Review that his son left behind his phone and tablet, along with a stress ball and fidget spinner he often used.
"If he did run away, he's not in any trouble," Walker said Tuesday evening. "We just want him to come home and be home safe."
The search has included reviewing surveillance footage, canvassing the area and enlisting help of a search-and-rescue team from Harristown to search the Sangamon River, Sgt. Chris Copeland previously said. Police also searched more than 50 vacant homes and buildings in the area, as well as other locations like cemeteries, parks and bodies of water, he said.
Dreamland Lake was drained in 2004 to search for evidence after the body of Laura Rae Brown, 19, of Decatur, was found floating in the water. Her boyfriend, Maurice Chevalier, was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2005.
The lake dates to 1905 and is named after the Dreamland Park amusement park that once operated nearby.