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Article updated: 11/10/2012 12:21 AM

Friends remember South Barrington man found in pond

By Christopher Placek

The body of a 25-year-old South Barrington man who went missing last week was discovered Friday in pond near his house.

Divers from the Barrington Fire Department recovered the body of Vance Nwankwo about 3 p.m. after a five-hour search. They searched two ponds near Nwankwo's house in the Spring Creek subdivision at Penny and Bartlett roads, finding his body in the second one examined with sonar equipment.

Nwankwo, who was described as mildly autistic, had been missing since a cabdriver reportedly brought him home from a Halloween party Oct. 30.

Deputy Police Chief Ray Cordell said Nwankwo's family was notified after authorities made positive identification of the body.

Cordell said the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Nwankwo's death will remain open until an autopsy has been conducted. The autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner's office is scheduled for Saturday.

Nwankwo attended a party at the Drink nightclub in Schaumburg Oct. 30 dressed as "The Hulk" with his entire body painted green with black circles around his eyes. According to police, a cabdriver dropped off Nwankwo in front of his South Barrington home after picking him up at the nightclub. Nwankwo's boot was found by the mailbox, indicating that he got at least that far after leaving the party, authorities said.

Nwankwo's mother reported him missing Nov. 1. Relatives suspect someone may have lured him away with a concocted story, according to a missing persons flier posted online.

Friends on Friday were remembering Nwankwo as a popular student, movie and music enthusiast and White Sox fan who enjoyed making people laugh.

Sara McMillan, 25, of Barrington, said she knew Nwankwo since first grade at Countryside Elementary School. They also attended the Prairie Campus of Barrington Middle School and Barrington High School together before graduating in 2005.

McMillan said the last time she saw him was a few weeks ago at Durty Nellie's in Palatine.

"He was having a great time and taking pictures with everyone. Every time I looked over at him he was smiling and laughing. That laugh is something that I will absolutely never forget. It was contagious and a full-on belly laugh," she said.

Kimberly Davis, 24, of Carpentersville, said she often rode the bus with Nwankwo to high school. He'd often quote lines from movies and talk about the latest music. He knew everything about those two topics, she said.

"He was a really nice guy," Davis said. "He always wanted to bring out the good in people."

She says Nwankwo worked at a Jewel store and recently started worked at a Bucky gas station.
He is survived by a mother, brother and sister.

Friends on Facebook said they were organizing a candlelight vigil to be held in Nwankwo's honor.

• Daily Herald staff writers Eric Peterson and Kimberly Pohl contributed to this report.

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