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Prospect Heights kayaker drowned
By Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/5/2008 11:29 AM | Updated: 6/5/2008 9:39 PM

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Autopsy results confirmed a kayaker whose body was found on the shore of Lake Bluff early Thursday morning died accidentally, authorities said.

A family member reported Connie J. Alton, 52, of Prospect Heights, missing around midnight Wednesday.

At about 1 a.m. Thursday, the Great Lakes Police Department notified surrounding agencies that Alton was last seen kayaking off shore in Great Lakes' jurisdiction.

The U.S. Coast Guard spotted Alton's kayak near the shore of Sunset Beach in Lake Bluff just before 6 a.m. Thursday. They found her body shortly thereafter near a private beach just south of Sunset Beach, as well as her life vest, authorities said.

Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Rescue helped recover Alton's body and turned it over to the Lake County coroner. The kayak and life vest also were recovered.

Alton was not wearing her life vest, Lake County Coroner Richard Keller said.

"It was found floating in the water separate from her body, which was washed up on the shore," he said. "The straps and buckles were not damaged."

Keller said there was "no evidence of trauma. She did indeed drown," ruling out foul play.

"We've seen certainly more than one kayaker from Lake Michigan," Keller said. "With the conditions in that lake, it is certainly not a good place for kayaking."

Alton was an avid kayaker who kayaked in the area on a regular basis, a Lake County Sheriff's Office release said.

"Our hearts go out to Connie's family," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. "I pray that Connie is at peace now with her maker."