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Volunteers Search Hundreds of Miles for Missing Lake Villa Man

Nick Steward has been missing since Sept. 20 when he left work in Wood Dale to drive home to Lake Villa.

Volunteers examine the grid map for the search. Photo credit: Korrina Grom
Volunteers examine the grid map for the search. Photo credit: Korrina Grom

Volunteers spread out across a 225-mile swath of the Chicago suburbs Sunday looking for a Lake Villa man who went missing Sept. 20.

Nick Steward, 33, was driving home from work that day but never made it home. Police have no leads. He is married with a 1-year-old son.

Steward's friends organized the search party and split the area between Steward's job in Wood Dale to his Lake Villa home into a series of grids. Volunteers then were sent out with maps to search the various grids.

"If the situation was reversed, he would be there for a complete stranger to do the same," said Megan Steward, Nick's wife. 

Matt Liebgott, one of Nick's friends, said Nick left work at about 5 p.m. Sept. 20. He talked to Megan to let her know he was on his way home. 

At 5:28 p.m., Nick drove his white 2008 Saturn Aura on 294 through the Touhy Avenue toll. That was the last known ping for Nick's cell phone, said Liebgott. 

Megan said she has spoken with Nick's employer and colleagues and that he had a "completely normal day at work."

Liebgott added that there has been no financial activity on Steward's accounts. 

He was impressed with the number of people who turned out Sunday to search 225 square miles to look for Nick.

"It's incredible to see this turnout," said Liebgott. He instructed the volunteers to call 911 if they find anything. 

Nick's parents, Don and Kathy Steward of Vernon Hills, definitely appreciate the efforts.

There have been previous searches, but nothing like that of Sunday's scale.

"This is all family and friends," Don said, fighting back tears. "They responded to the (Find Nick Steward) Facebook page. They used it to start this and to run with it. CDW's been wonderful to us, too."

He and his wife are taking it "day to day, hour to hour" to deal with Nick's disappearance, he said.

fundraiser website has also been set up for the family. Proceeds will go towards a reward for any information leading to Nick's return or to cover his family's financial responsibilities during his absence.

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