KINGSTON – Divers found Steven Schulz's handgun Thursday afternoon in the Kishwaukee River about 800 feet east of where his body was found a day earlier.
Schulz, 23, of DeKalb, died of a gunshot wound to the head with no other signs of any struggle or trauma, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said. Schulz, a 2009 Sycamore High School graduate, was last seen Sunday and was reported missing by his family Monday evening.
DeKalb police have said his phone records showed he had not contacted anyone since Sunday.
Officials have not ruled out homicide as a cause of death – they are exploring all possible causes, Scott said. An autopsy was conducted Thursday, but the final report is not yet available, pending laboratory results.
"The investigation is continuing," Scott said. "Until all the results are in, we are not in a position to make any definitive statements on that."
Scott said police had not confirmed reports that friends who spoke to Schulz on Sunday said he was on his way to Genoa to exchange guns with a man they didn’t know.
A five-member dive team from the St. Charles Fire Department recovered a small-caliber, semi-automatic pistol that Schulz had purchased legally about a year ago, Scott said. Divers found the weapon just east of the Glidden Road bridge north of Route 72 in rural Kingston about 2 p.m. Thursday.
Scott said the cooperation of Schulz's family and friends throughout the investigation had been helpful, along with area residents and onlookers staying away from the river while authorities worked. Glidden Road was closed for part of Wednesday and reduced to one lane in that area for officers' safety for part of Thursday.
"The family has been very supportive, and we've tried to talk with them as often as possible with the information they would need," Scott said.
Police found Schulz's red Ford pickup truck Monday near the intersection of Route 72 and Glidden Road, and about 20 searchers scoured the river within a half-mile of that point Tuesday using dogs, a boat and a helicopter. An Illinois Conservation Police kayaker found him wearing a red t-shirt, dark pants and tennis shoes Wednesday afternoon in the river, police said.
Scott said Schulz was shot east of the Glidden Road bridge, near where the gun was found, and the river current carried his body west. Police believe Schulz was shot with his gun that they found in the river.
"There's a pretty strong current that would have taken the body," Scott said Thursday. "It was under water and did not come up until yesterday."
Scott said police consider the case an isolated incident, with no threat to public safety. Those with pertinent information should call sheriff's police at 815-895-2155 or DeKalb County Crime Stoppers at 815-895-3272.
"We will review some of the leads that have come in over the days," Scott said, "and any leads that come forward to us from this point on."