Have they found Michael Jansson's body?

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Michael Jansson
  • Michael Jansson
Yesterday the police pulled a 1992 maroon Buick LeSabre from the north branch of the Chicago River, near Blackhawk Street.* The car once belonged to a woman named Magaly Lind, who had reported it stolen the day after it disappeared, along with Michael Dean Jansson, on March 9, 2001. Jansson was a friend of Lind's boyfriend, Joe Chollampel, and the three of them, along with another friend, Fari Padavil, had been partying at a club called Biology Bar on Fremont Street, not far from where the car was recovered nearly 12 years later. The car, as the Tribune reported, also contained a set of human bones that are believed to be Jansson's.

In 2001 I wrote about Jansson's disappearance and the many confounding circumstances surrounding it. Jansson had been ejected from the club in the early hours of the morning after arguing with some other patrons. At this point the accounts of Jansson's friends and club security employees began to differ. But a few things were certain. Instead of leaving with him when he was kicked out of the club, Jansson's friends left him to wait outside, where he had some discussion with the bouncers. When Jansson's friends finally emerged from the club in the wee hours of the morning, he was gone, along with Lind's car and Chollampel's cell phone.

That phone would later prove to be particularly maddening for Jansson's mother, Lynda, who has spent the subsequent years searching for her son.

As Chollampel's phone bill would later reveal, in the hours after Jansson's disappearance, several calls were placed to relatives of Biology Bar security staff—though none would admit to possessing the phone. The next day Chollampel had a conversation with an anonymous man in possession of the phone, but lost his chance to recover it when his mother deactivated it. At the time, this didn't interest the police, who believed that Jansson, with his record of petty drug offenses, had run off with the car.

It could be many weeks before the medical examiner's office completes DNA testing on the bones to determine if in fact they are Jansson's.

*The spot on the river near Blackhawk where the car was found is turning out to be something of a Bermuda Triangle. Last year a missing woman and her car were pulled from the river nearby, and in 1992 a cabdriver was killed after he drove over the opposite bank.

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