Harvey Caplin

Harvey Caplin went missing from his Glencoe home. (Family photo / January 28, 2014)

Glencoe police said Monday that a body found over the weekend near the Edens Expressway spur ramp in Northbrook has been identified as that of an 82-year-old Glencoe man missing since January.

Glencoe police Deputy Chief Alan Kebby said the Cook County medical examiner's office made a finding based upon Harvey Caplin's dental records.

The Cook County medical examiner's office determined following an autopsy Sunday that Caplin, of the 800 block of Forestway Drive, died of heart disease and that cold exposure was a contributing factor.

The death is the 31st this season from cold-related causes in Cook County, according to a spokesman for the medical examiner's office.

Kebby said Caplin may have been walking in frigid, snowy weather on the night of Jan. 21 to Dundee Road and then headed west on Dundee toward the Edens near the spur ramp, a distance of about 2 miles.

"He may have been attracted to the lights and we did have unconfirmed reports of sightings of people walking near the Edens," Kebby said, adding, that "we also had a lot of disabled motorists that night because of all the snow, and they were walking around that area too."

Caplin was last seen, by his wife, around 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, authorities said, when he wandered away from his Glencoe home, near the Chicago Botanic Garden.

His wife, Anne, previously told the Tribune that she left her home that evening for a quick trip to the post office. When she returned, her husband, who had dementia, had vanished.

For the past two and a half months, officers with the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the county Forest Preserve District, the Illinois State Police and Glencoe police — assisted by neighboring police departments — launched multiple searches for Caplin using helicopters, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and K-9 units, with divers searching the Skokie Lagoon.

But Kebby said the brutal winter's heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures hampered the search, and officials awaited the spring thaw, realizing that once the foliage began budding, officials would have yet another visibility problem.

"Not a day has gone by when a resident has not stopped us and asked about this case. And in a small town like Glencoe, it's not just a missing man — they all knew Mr. Caplin by name," Kebby said.

"This could bring some closure for the family and the community, but it might not make anyone feel any better, as they're still grieving a loss."


Twitter @kcullotta