Authorities say they believe an elderly Arlington Heights man who was reported missing Aug. 22 is the person who died in a single-car crash that was just discovered but which apparently occurred some time ago along Route 59.
Authorities say the car, which was found in a deep ravine, is registered to 84-year-old Eugene Jonsson, who has been missing nearly a month.
"I didn't figure this was going to come to a good end," said his daughter, Sue Martin.
An autopsy took place Friday, but officials at the DuPage County Coroner's office said the cause of death and positive identification remained pending.
While the discovery of the car has provided some answers, they're not the answers anyone who knew Jonsson wanted, said longtime neighbor Maxine Nugent.
"It's beyond unfortunate that something like this occurs," Nugent said. "He was just a gentle, kindhearted man. He had a nice sense of humor. He was very much a family man and a good grandfather."
West Chicago police say a police officer was flagged down at 4:49 p.m. Thursday by a landscaper working in the area of Route 59 and Hawthorne Lane. The landscaper told the officer he discovered a car off the roadway that had been in a crash.
Responding officers found a dark gray Buick sedan about 50 feet off the roadway in a deep ravine. A partially decomposed body was found next to the vehicle, they said in a statement.
Police say their initial investigation suggests the car's driver drove off the road from northbound Route 59 north of Hawthorne Lane. The car struck several bushes, underbrush and trees before coming to rest against a tree, they said.
Jonsson left his home on the evening of Aug. 22 to pick up some food at a Palatine restaurant. He never returned. He was seen shortly before 1 a.m. on Aug. 23 near Yorkville in Kendall County, where he asked for directions to an intersection in Naperville.
Family members said in an interview on Sept. 1 that while Jonsson had not been formally diagnosed with any health issues, he had been struggling with bouts of memory loss.
His wife, Marion Jonsson, didn't know of any reason why her husband would have been looking for the Naperville intersection -- Route 59 and Ogden Avenue -- except that he might have been trying to reach their son, who lives in South Elgin not too far from Route 59.
"This is all speculation, but I do wonder if he got lost and then a little confused after leaving our house," she said then. "But of course we just don't know."