A Chicago man has been found dead after he went missing while boat-hopping during a yacht and boat party in Lake Michigan on July 27.
30-year-old Oluwafemi “Arthur” Labinjo was one of dozens enjoying the Chicago Scene Boat Party, a yearly tradition where people link their boats together in a no-wake area called the “Playpen.”
“It’s a once-a-year celebration of the waterfront. It’s an iconic part of the Chicago summer for sure,” said Ken Monro, who has attended the party for years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Labinjo’s family says he boarded a chartered boat with friends but left them shortly afterward. His cellphone and other belongings were left behind and he never returned.
After failing to pick up his daughter later that night, Labinjo was reported missing the next day.
“We were completely in the dark,” his brother, Eddie Labinjo, says. On August 1, Labinjo’s body was discovered off the 800 block of North Lake Shore Drive.
An investigation into Arthur Labinjo’s death is underway. An autopsy was performed shortly after his body was discovered, however the cause of death has been determined inconclusive, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Labinjo’s mother flew to Chicago from Virginia and his father flew in from Nigeria following his death. They still don’t understand how he died.
“Most things can be reconciled once you know the answers,” mother Glenda Labinjo said, according to the Tribune. “We just need to know: What happened? What was the cause of death?
“How painful it was for me to make those calls this morning,” she added.
Authorities are still uncertain as to which boat Labinjo boarded prior to his death. Lt. Brian Hennessy, chief of the investigations division for Chicago’s Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit, said three illegal charters were anchored at the Scene party.
During some of the most recent parties, the Coast Guard has spent more effort in identifying vessels that are illegally chartered and don’t meet federal regulations, possibly endangering passengers.