Demolition work near Starved Rock State Park may be connected to deaths of three men last week, family’s lawyer saysSophie Sherryon May 12, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Brothers Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, were killed May 6, 2021 near Starved Rock State Park. | Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.

The attorney said there is no reason to believe the three men were handling or “knowingly using explosive devices.”

A lawyer hired by the family of three men killed in an explosion near Starved Rock State Park raised questions Wednesday about their deaths, saying “there is no reason to believe” they were “knowingly using explosive devices.”

Attorney Tara R. Devine raised the possibility that the deaths of brothers Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, and Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, were connected to nearby demolition work for a bridge project.

The three men were found last Thursday about 100 yards west of the Route 178 bridge in Utica.

“We will be hiring some of the best experts in the country to assist us in our investigation and hopefully bring peace of mind to Inmer, Rafael and Guillermo’s family,” Devine said in a statement.

All three victims were from the Chicago area.

LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch told the Sun-Times last week that the men may have been fishing along the Illinois River and ignited black powder while trying to light a fire to cook food.

Autopsy results will likely take a few weeks as Illinois State Police continue to investigate the explosion.

State police have not provided any update on the investigation.

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