McKay had been staying with his father in Orland Park after his mother, Kathy, moved out of their home in the 12000 block of Josephine Drive in Mokena. His father, Tom, said McKay had planned to live in the Mokena house alone, but it was causing him to become more distressed.
McKay had a history of emotional issues stemming from a series of tragic events in high school that damaged him emotionally. In the week before his disappearance, his parents said he had become increasingly depressed and was having paranoid fears of being taken by the CIA. On Dec. 11, two days before his disappearance, McKay was taken to the hospital but was not admitted because of a lack of health insurance. On Dec. 12, the distressed young man sought the solace of priest after taking several trains to Oak Park. The priest contacted his father, who planned to pick him up, but McKay arrived back home in a cab. Later that night, he got very depressed and paranoid again, then on Saturday morning, he just walked out of the house.
For more than two months, family and friends passed out fliers, scoured homeless shelters, churches, and the Internet in the hopes of finding a clue of the missing man.
McKay's fully-clothed body was found in a creek in the city of Tinley Park on March 2, 2009.
McKay's body was discovered by a Park District employee near 167th Street and 80th Avenue while cleaning up debris along a creek in McCarthy Park. The body was lying face down in about 8 inches of water and snagged on a beaver dam. Tinley Park Police Commander Pat McCain told the media it had been in the water for some time, but it was not clear where the point of entry was or why McKay ended up in the creek. He said foul play did not seem to be involved. A wallet and identification were found on his body. McKay, a devout Catholic, was still wearing religious jewelry.
Thomas McKay began drawing away from loved ones while he was a junior in high school. He lost two of his closest friends and then his 38-year old uncle in separate car accidents all within a year.
His mother told the Chicago Tribune in February, "Trying to cope with three tremendous losses is a heavy burden for any teenager to handle. It became too much for him to deal with by himself."
Thomas P. McKay was the beloved son of Cathy and Thomas (Denise) McKay; loving brother of Shannon and Cody McKay; dear grandson of Joseph and Anna Drabik and Judy Truty.
He was a 2001 graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School and was attending classes at Joliet Junior College. He worked retail jobs to earn money for school.
He was described as quiet and shy. He was an animal lover and often looked after his 22-year old sister's two boxers. He also had a cat named Xena: Warrior Princess.
A funeral Mass was held on March 9, 2009 at St. Mary Church in Mokena with Interment at Resurrection Cemetery.
Name/age: Thomas McKay, Jr., 24
Last seen: 12/13/08, 7 a.m., Orland Park, IL
Recovered: 3/2/09 creek near McCarthy Park in city of Tinley Park, IL
Physical Description: 6'1," 150 pounds, short brown hair, green eyes.
Last seen wearing: brown, gray and green Columbia jacket, red Nike visor and blue jeans.
Investigating Agency: Orland Park Police Department, (708) 349-4111.
Hillenmeyer, Joe. (2008, December 24). Mokena man missing since mid-December. The New Lenox Patriot. Retrieved September 15, 2012 from
Normandy, Wendy and Sullivan, Dennis. (2009, March 5). Body found in creek was that of missing Mokena man. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 15, 2012 from http://articles.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009-03-05/news/28523171_1_mokena-man-mccarthy-park-mental-health-facility
Writer. Obituary. (2009, March 6). Southtown Star. Retrieved September 15, 2012 from http://legacy.southtownstar.com/obituaries/southtownstar/