CHICAGO — After the search party dispersed and word had spread that the body of Christopher Evans was discovered in Belmont Harbor, Evans’ high school friends gathered in an Irving Park apartment to remember their buddy.
They recalled their marathon movie and video-gaming sessions fueled by take-out food, road trips to theme parks and how Evans worked hard to establish his education and career.
Evans was seeking his MBA at Loyola University Chicago, where he also worked as a financial analyst.
“He had himself pretty together. He knew what he was doing,” said Lawrence Chung, 24, of Sauganash. “As long as I’ve known him he’s been one of the most reliable people.”
Evans, 25, was acting out of character when he left Roscoe’s, a Boystown bar at 3356 N. Halsted St. about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a missing persons alert issued by Chicago Police. The Evergreen Park resident had been partying with friends for the weekend's Pride revelry.
On Thursday morning, friends were posting fliers in the Boystown and Lakeview area with new information about a cash reward offered by Evans’ parents.
But their hopes of finding him were short-lived.
Shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday, police discovered a body at Belmont Harbor on the North Side. Hours later, Loyola officials confirmed it was Evans.
News of his death has shocked his friends, including the 800-plus people contributing to a “Find Chris Evans” Facebook page and an impromptu volunteer search party sign-up circulating online.
“I think he was very happy with his life. He had a loving family, friends that loved him. You can see that just from the amount of attention he got. People were dropping everything and doing all they can to find him,” longtime friend Adam Kiczula said.
Kiczula said Evans, a groomsman in his wedding just last month, was a “calm, cool, collected kind of guy,” so his reportedly erratic behavior early Sunday has left friends and relatives puzzled.
“It’s definitely out of normal character, the rash change. Sounds like somebody might have slipped something to him. He’s not the type to take substances,” Kiczula said.
An autopsy was performed Friday, but a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said Evans' cause of death was pending further studies. A morgue spokesman on Thursday said results from a toxicology screening would be available in about six weeks.
Loyola spokeswoman Maeve Kiley said the school will soon be sending out information about memorial services to university employees, students and alumni.