December 6, 2005

12/05/05: Matthew Soumakis, 31, Chicago, IL

Thirty-one year old Matthew Soumakis, a mutual fund accountant from East LongMeadow, MA was in Chicago in order to attend a business conference on Monday, December 5th. He called his mother that morning and a short time later was seen on security cameras walking out of the hotel. He never made it to the conference and missed his return flight home. His body was found fifteen days later in the Chicago River.

Matthew Soumakis, a mutual fund accountant for SS&C Technology of Windsor arrived in Chicago on Friday, December 2 for a business conference (National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Meeting). On Sunday, December 4, he called his wife to say he would be going out to dinner with his cousin who drove up from Indianapolis, IN to meet him. On Monday, December 5 at around 6:30 a.m., he called his mother. Just a short time later, at approximately 7:49 a.m., security cameras at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers at 301 E. North Water St., where he was staying observed Soumakis walking out of the hotel towards Illinois Street. He failed to show up at a meeting that day, and after his coworkers called his home, his family filed a police report. He was supposed to fly home on Tuesday, December 6th, but he never made it home. When investigators searched Matthew's hotel room, it was undisturbed. They found his laptop, luggage and other personal belongings. His credit cards had not been used.

Possible Sighting
A bartender at Lizzie McNeil's bar, across the street from the Sheraton and just off the bank of the Chicago River, believes to have seen Soumakis was drinking in the bar for five hours later that night. Soumakis was reportedly talking business and having a couple of drinks with a professionally-dressed older gentleman with gray hair and beard and wearing a dark coat. They both left the bar at closing time, around 1:30 a.m. The man believed to have been Soumakis was seen walking back in the direction of the Sheraton hotel.

The Search and Recovery of Matthew
Early on police feared he may have fallen into the Chicago River. The area near the Sheraton Hotel was searched by the police marine unit and its scuba team without results. Sonar equipment was also used in the search of the river. The river water temperature was about 39 degrees, according to police.

On December 20, 2005, Soumakis' body was pulled from the river near Halstad and Division Streets two weeks later after Department of Streets and Sanitation employees working near the river spotted the body and called police. The body was taken to the Cook County medical examiner's office, where it was positively identified through a body and clothing description and other identifiers. Soumakis' body was found several blocks from the hotel where he had been staying. An autopsy performed the following day determined Soumakis drowned, but the manner of death was undetermined pending a police investigation, according to a Cook County medical examiner's office spokesman.

In to a Chicago Tribune article, Matthew's cousin said his cousin’s clean-shaven face suggests that he died in the morning, as all of the men in the family have heavy beards and develop a shadow of stubble early in the day. Matthew was also still wearing an identification tag from the conference he was supposed to have attended.

A family man
Soumakis, a Springfield native, lived in East Longmeadow with his wife, Kelly, and 6-year-old stepdaughter. His wife was four months pregnant with their first child. "I can't tell you how uncharacteristic this is of him,” said Kelly Soumakis, his wife of eight months. “Matt’s such a reliable person -- a great friend; a great husband." Matthew was also described as being "in touch"--never hesitating to pick up his cell phone and check in with his wife.

Facts of Interest
Name/Age: Matthew Soumakis, 31 (from East Longmeadow, MA)
College: University of Massachusetts-Amherst graduate
Physical description: 6'1," 220#, black hair, brown eyes
Last seen: 12/5/05, 7:49 a.m., exiting Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers at 301 E. North Water St. May have been seen later that night at Lizzie McNeill's bar across the street at 400 N. McClurg Court.
Recovered: 12/20/05, 9:39 a.m., Chicago River, near Halsted and Division Streets near Goose Island
Cause of death: drowning
Manner of death: undetermined
Injuries: no information
Water temperature: 39 degrees
Blood Alcohol Content: no information

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