CHICAGO — Bones found in a car pulled out of the Chicago River by police may be those of a Chicago man who went missing more than 10 years ago.
Chicago police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said the vehicle was recovered Saturday morning in the river’s North Branch, near Blackhawk Street west of Old Town.
Stratton said the bones, which must be identified using DNA, may be those of Michael Jansson, who was 21 when he went missing on March 9, 2001. Stratton said the vehicle identification number matched that of the car in which Jansson was last seen.
Jansson was last seen waiting for friends outside the Biology Bar in the 1500 block of North Fremont Street. When they left the bar, he was gone. Jansson was driving a burgundy 1992 Buick LeSabre, which he had borrowed from a friend. The friend later reported the vehicle stolen.
Stratton said police were searching at the location where the car was found in an unrelated investigation. Using sonar technology, the Chicago police marine unit recovered the car. Police began removing it from the river about 7 a.m. Saturday morning; the process was complete by noon, she said.
Stratton said Jansson’s family had been notified that the remains could be his, but it will likely be some time before any positive identification is made.
"We are hopeful that we will be able to provide some closure to his family, who has been missing a loved one for nearly 12 years," she said.
Biology Bar, a dance club which is now closed, was known for its fur-covered bar and exotic drinks served in test tubes. It was located two blocks from the river, on the east side of Goose Island.
The river bisects Blackhawk Street, with Goose Island dominating the landscape between. Last May, Irma Sabanovic, a model, drowned when her car went into the river on the west side of Goose Island. In 1992, Rick Ronan, a promising comedic actor, died when his car went into the river on the east side of the island.
Stratton said barriers were put up after Sabanovic’s death.