The Cook County medical examiner’s office has completed its investigation into the deaths of two University of Illinois Chicago students who went missing in April. Officials said the results of their examinations into the deaths of Daniel Sotelo and his girlfriend, Natally Brookson, were largely inconclusive.
Sotelo, 28, and Brookson, 22, went missing together in late April, sparking an intense search by friends, family members, and authorities. Brookson’s body was found in Lake Michigan near Edgewater Beach on May 2, and Sotelo’s was found by a boater about a mile east of Wilmette on May 22.
The medical examiner’s office was unable to determine the manner or cause of Brookson’s death, according to public records. Officials concluded that Sotelo drowned, but the manner of death, such as an accident, natural causes, or homicide, could not be determined.
“My family and I were blessed to have had Danny for the short time that we did,” his sister wrote on Facebook after he was found. “He was an absolute light for us all. His kindness was reflected in his eyes, and his generosity was conveyed in the way he took care of others. His smile had the ability to warm the heart of anyone that came across it. We are fortunate to have witnessed it as many times as we did.”
In a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Brookson’s funeral, her friend, Gina Sawa, wrote, “I’ve watched Natally grow into being the amazing young woman that she was. She was selfless, loving, and incredibly talented. I was lucky to have such a supportive, and caring friend like her. She was passionate, ambitious, and everything you would want in a friend. I’ve enjoyed every moment with her. I am praying for her family and their healing.”