Doctoral student who went missing in Lincoln Park accidentally drowned, medical examiner says

Chicago — Peter Salvino, the Northwestern University doctoral student found dead in Diversey Harbor after he went missing at Christmastime, accidentally drowned, according to new information from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Salvino, 25, left a party in the 2400 block of North Geneva Terrace around midnight on December 18 and told a friend on FaceTime that he was walking to his nearby home, Chicago police said. He never made it home, and police said his phone last pinged near Diversey Harbor about a half-hour after he left the party.

Peter Salvino |

Family and friends launched a search effort, posting flyers and generating widespread media coverage as they looked for Salvino. Chicago police recovered his body from Diversey Harbor on December 20.

In newly-publicized findings, the medical examiner ruled Salvino’s death an accident by drowning. The office said ethanol intoxication contributed to his death.

Salvino double-majored in electrical engineering and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University before entering Northwestern’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience doctoral program.

“He worked alongside others to understand how neural circuits across many brain areas interact to support decision making,” the school said in a news release. “Salvino is described by his colleagues as effortlessly brilliant, kind, humble and generous with his time and intellect.”

Dr. Lucas Pinto, under whom Salvino studied at Northwestern, said, “He was universally loved by our team and will leave an indelible mark. My grief is immense. But it is surpassed by my gratitude for getting to know him, work with him and share in his contagious enthusiasm for science. We will really miss you, Peter.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is