MISS­ING MAN WITH DE­MEN­TIA FOUND DEAD

Ron­ald Sk­er­tic, 66, wan­dered away from home on Mon­day

Post-Tribune - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL GON­ZA­LEZ Post-Tri­bune cor­re­spon­dent

LAKE STA­TION — The search for a miss­ing Lake Sta­tion man ended early Satur­day when his body was found in a drainage ditch just off Ri­p­ley Street near In­ter­state 80/94.

Ron­ald Sk­er­tic, 66, a phys­i­cally and men­tally dis­abled man miss­ing since Mon­day, lived at Lake Park Res­i­den­tial Care Cen­ter, 2075 Ri­p­ley St.

About 7:30 a.m. Satur­day, Lake Sta­tion Po­lice Chief Kevin Gar­ber said his depart­ment re­ceived a call from a res­i­dent of the 3400 block of East 21st Av­enue about the body of an el­derly man match­ing Sk­er­tic’s de­scrip­tion in the ditch.

The area is a high-traf­fic spot, and Lake Park res­i­dents fre­quently shop at nearby gas sta­tions and fast-food restaurants.

The res­i­dent who found Sk­er­tic watched as po­lice and Lake County coroner of­fi­cials re­trieved the body. Sk­er­tic’s brother and sis­terin-law stood watch nearby.

They did not com­ment Satur­day, but ear­lier this week, Mar­i­lyn Sk­er­tic de­scribed her brother-in-law as “frail” and “not healthy men- tally and phys­i­cally.”

Sk­er­tic’s dis­ap­pear­ance early this week prompted a wide-rang­ing search that in­volved about 30 searchers, he­li­copters, all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles and more, Gar­ber said.

Word of his dis­ap­pear­ance drew “mul­ti­ple leads,” from as far away as Ham­mond and Crown Point, Lake Sta­tion Po­lice De­tec­tive David John­son said.

Sk­er­tic’s body was found par­tially sub­merged in wa­ter in the ditch, Gar­ber said.

As the in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­trieved the body, po­lice of­fi­cers held up red and white tarps to block the views of mo­torists on Ri­p­ley Street and on­look­ers.

| MICHAEL GON­ZA­LEZ/FOR SUN-TIMES ME­DIA

Lake Sta­tion po­lice of­fi­cers hold up a red tarp to shield the view of mo­torists and on­look­ers as Lake Coroner in­ves­ti­ga­tors load the body of Ron Sk­er­tic, 66, into a van. Sk­er­tic had been miss­ing since Mon­day, prompt­ing a wide-rang­ing search.

Sk­er­tic

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